Game Preview: Pacers at Hawks
Saturday, December 29th at 7:00 PM EST at Phillips Arena
Game Preview: IND at ATL
by Scott Agness | December 28, 2012
The Pacers like where they sit, currently fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, but they’re not satisfied. Saturday, they’ll face the Hawks in Atlanta for the second time this season. Both teams will be playing the second night of a back-to-back. Indiana hosted Phoenix while Atlanta was in Cleveland on Friday night.
The Pacers are much different from the last time the teams met in early November. Their confidence has risen, defense has ramped up, and swingman Paul George has caught on.
Atlanta has settled in since their last meeting. They went through rapid change over the summer, led by new President and General Manger Danny Ferry. Lou Williams, Kyle Korver and Devin Harris have been nice additions to their roster.
The Hawks average about 23 assists per game, fifth-best in the NBA. They are also both third in steals per game and points off turnovers so it’s even more essential that the Pacers to take care of the ball.
Josh Smith leads the Hawks, averaging 17 points and eight rebounds per game. Center Al Horford is shooting 52 percent from the field and nearly averaging nearly 16 points and 10 rebounds. With those two in the middle, there’s a focus on controlling the paint. Jeff Teague, the only Hawks player to start every game, is good for 13 points and 6.5 assists per game, and is also their best free throw shooter at 89 percent.
Atlanta has Indiana’s number, taking the last ten meetings against Pacers in their gym.
Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee), George Hill (probable, right thigh contusion)
Hawks: Josh Smith (game-time decision, strained right hip flexor), Al Horford (probable, right hip contusion), Devin Harris (doubtful, sore left foot), Anthony Morrow (doubtful, right hip strain), Ivan Johnson (probable, illness)
“They’re a good team. Josh Smith has been playing well. They get out going and Lou (Williams) can fill it up. And Al Horford has been playing pretty well for them. Everybody has to lock in and hopefully our defense can hold up but we have to score.” – Paul George on facing Atlanta.
“Anytime that you can go on streaks, it makes our job a lot easier. We’re going to keep focusing on getting better, game by game. (If) we can put some games together, it’s going to help us in the long run.” – George Hill
- Atlanta has won 12 of the last 14 meetings, including the last three.
- The Hawks are 8-2 at home against Eastern Conference opponents.
- Hawks point guard Jeff Teague attended Pike High School.
- Hawks assistant coach Lester Conner spent three years on the Pacers bench under Jim O’Brien.
The Pacers saw their 14-point lead evaporate in the fourth quarter, in a tough-to-swallow loss in early November at Atlanta, 89-86. The game was full of runs. Indiana scored 18 straight points during a stretch in the third quarter but they were outscored 20-3 to close the game.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Pacers were ahead by eight. Kyle Korver scored eight in a row late in the game, bringing Atlanta within one. Indianapolis native Jeff Teague then buried an outside shot followed by another jumper to take the lead for good. Paul George’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was no good and the Hawks stole one from the Pacers.
Roy Hibbert posted his first triple-double (10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocks) and six Pacers in total scored in double figures, which aided to the teams’ highest point-total of the season.
David West and George Hill each scored 20 for the Pacers. Paul George had 13 points and seven rebounds. Al Horford led the Hawks with 16 points and Jeff Teague added 15. Zaza Pachulia only scored six points but he pulled down 14 rebounds.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (host)
Next Home Game
The Pacers next home game is against the Memphis Grizzlies on New Year's Eve. The game is at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday, December 31, with a special holiday tip-off time of 3:00 PM EST. Buy Tickets »