Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 at 8:00 PM EDT at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 106, Hawks 83, Game 5
Scott Agness | May 1, 2013
Atlanta had made adjustments Games 3 and 4 in Atlanta, going big and being the aggressor in the pair of wins. Back in Indy, Pacers coach Frank Vogel knew it was going to take more than just playing in front of their home crowd to grab command of the series. As has been the story all series, whichever team took control of the game in the second quarter was victorious. In this case, it was the Pacers with a dominant display.
The adjustments, which felt like a chess match within the game, paid off for the Pacers. They played their best defense of the series, holding the Hawks to 33 percent from the floor, and with a 106-83, they lowered the magic number to wrap up the best-of-seven series to one.
It was clear during warmups and introductions that the Pacers were locked in and focused. Rather than viewing it as a three-game series, Vogel said pregame that they were treating the game like a one-game series and would tinker with their rotations a bit.
Late in the opening quarter we saw the first wrinkle as he brought Jeff Pendergraph in and played him at small forward, lining up opposite Josh Smith. They also put an emphasis on being even more aggressive and pushing the pace. . As a result of the quick play, they had eight turnovers after 12 minutes of play and trailed by one.
The turning point of the game came in the middle of the second, where the Pacers went on a 15-4 run on the shoulders of five straight buckets from David West. For the Pacers to be successful in the postseason they needed the West, the backbone of the team, to come alive. He had 12 points in the quarter. The Pacers shot 54 percent in the first two periods and took a seven-point lead into the locker room.
In what felt like the longest quarter ever – a 56-minute third period which included 18 fouls and three technical fouls – the Pacers maintained their poise through the madness. Hill played through it all and scored 11 of his 15 points on 4-of-5 shooting. While Smith’s troubles continued, picking up fouls three, four, and five within a matter of minutes (followed by a technical), a 12-3 spurt to open the quarter had the Pacers sitting pretty, up by 14 with one period to play.
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From there, the game was never in doubt. With five minutes to play, the Hawks waved the white flag and sent the guys at the bottom of their bench in. Vogel wanted his team to bottle up what did in the third quarter of Game 4 – defense, attacking the paint and moving the ball – and play with that intensity the rest of the series. They did that, plus were successful with their counter-adjustments.
The puzzle that needs to be answered: can the Pacers go down to Atlanta, a place where they’ve lost 13 in a row, and wrap up the series?
Inside the Numbers
Five Pacers finished in double figures, with David West righting the ship and totaling 24 points, going 11-of-16 from the floor. Paul George recorded a double-double, 21 points and 10 rebounds – right on his playoff average. Lance Stephenson was the only starter that failed to score at least 10 points, but he pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds to go along with eight points.
The Hawks’ most consistent player, Al Horford scored 14 points and had nine rebounds in 39 minutes. Josh Smith also had 14 and Devin Harris added 13. They were held to 33 percent shooting, including 3-of-14 from long-range.
Shooting 50.7 percent from the field, Indiana improved to 9-2 this season when connecting on at least half its shots.
Indiana annihilated Atlanta on the glass, 51-28. They also outscored them in the paint (+8).
The Pacers must do a better job of taking care of the basketball. They had 17 giveaways – eight in the first quarter – which the Hawks converted into 15 points.
“It was a countermove. While we have confidence that Paul [George] can guard anybody, we felt like putting a power forward size guy on Josh [Smith] could do a decent job on him. No one can really stop him but it would allow us to put some of our better defenders on [Kyle] Korver to limit him as well.” – Frank Vogel on adjustments
“We just had to sort out and reestablish our confidence. We’re still a very young basketball team and needed to reestablish our confidence and our abilities to slow this team down and to make the necessary plays offensively.” – Frank Vogel
“We’re at our best when he’s going like he was going. We talked [Tuesday] about how to get him some better looks and he kind of waved me off and said, ‘Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.’ So I didn’t really have a lot of doubt that he was going to have a big game.” – Frank Vogel on David West
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive, take a couple of jump shots. We watched the film and I just hadn’t been shooting many shots outside of 12-feet…I took a couple early ones, thought it got the guys going and our flow.” – David West
“He’s a strong player down low on the block and he has really good touch. Tonight, he came out being aggressive and his shots were falling.” – Josh Smith on David West
“With us losing our composure we just totally got into a me, me, me state, taking everybody’s shots. The execution was not there, one thing compounded the other and we just did not respond very well, when they went on a little bit of a run.” – Hawks coach Larry Drew
Stat of the Game
The Pacers had given up at least 90 points in each of their last 12 games. Tonight, they held the Hawks to 83.
- The Pacers have won all five home games against the Hawks this season.
- Atlanta has lost eight straight road playoff games.
- All five games in the series have been decided by double digits.
- Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, Ivan Johnson and Pacers coach Frank Vogel all received technical fouls.
- The game was a sellout (18,165), the Pacers’ 13th this season.
Game 6 in the best-of-seven series is on Friday, May 3 at 7 PM EST.
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