Game Preview: Pacers at Hawks
Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 1:00 PM ET at State Farm Arena
Indiana (26-29) looks to bounce back after Friday's loss to the Utah Jazz when they take on the Atlanta Hawks (30-26) in a Sunday matinee bout at State Farm Arena. Although, the task may prove to be a difficult one.
Despite dropping a 120-109 decision to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, former Pacers head coach Nate McMillan has the hosts playing at an extremely high level. Since March 1, Atlanta has posted a 16-6 record — the NBA's fifth-best mark over that span. The club's 30-26 record is its best through 56 games since the 2016-17 season when they went 32-24.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Tracking the Latest Standings, Remaining Schedules, and More »
Much of Atlanta's recent success has been due to the offensive side of the ball. Over the last 22 games, the Hawks are averaging the sixth-best offensive rating, scoring at a rate of 116.2 points per 100 possessions. All-Star caliber guard Trae Young has scored 20 points or more in 11 of those games, including a 42-point outburst against the Chicago Bulls on April 9. Their 40.1 percent team shooting from beyond the arc is the second-highest in the league, trailing only the Los Angeles Clippers.
However, Atlanta's defense should not be understated as well. Pacers fans know McMillan's defensive-minded coaching style. Additionally, center Clint Capela has been an underrated defensive force all year. The six-year big man out of Switzerland ranks fourth in the NBA in total blocks (108) and third in blocks per game (2.2). Only Myles Turner and Rudy Gobert have averaged more.
For Indiana, the problem still appears to be finishing out games in the in the second half. On Friday against the Jazz, the squad led by as many as 17 points in the first half before Utah began clawing back in the second. Over the past five games, the Blue & Gold have been outscored 166-134 in the third quarter and 142-120 in the fourth — margins of -32 and -22 respectively. With just 16 games left in the regular season, they will have to find a way to put together a full 48 minutes if they wish to make noise in the playoffs.
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Caris LeVert, SF - Edmond Sumner, PF - Justin Holiday, C - Domantas Sabonis
Hawks: PG - Trae Young, SG - Bogdan Bogdanovic, SF - Kevin Huerter, PF - Solomon Hill, C - Clint Capela
Pacers: Doug McDermott - questionable (left ankle sprain), Myles Turner - questionable (left ankle sprain), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)
Hawks: John Collins - questionable (left ankle sprain), Kris Dunn - out (right ankle surgery), Danilo Gallinari - out (right foot soreness), De'Andre Hunter - out (right knee soreness), Cam Reddish - out (right Achilles soreness), Tony Snell - out (right ankle sprain)
Feb. 13, 2021: The Pacers picked up a 125-113 win over the Atlanta Hawks inside State Farm Arena. The squad used a strong fourth-quarter performance to seal the deal.
With just over five minutes to go and the score knotted at 105, the Blue & Gold rattled off 13 unanswered points to take control. Indiana outscored Atlanta 41-26 in the final frame, as Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren used the speedy, guard-heavy lineup of Malcolm Brogdon, Aaron Holiday, and T.J. McConnell.
All five starters finished in double figures for Indiana. Doug McDermott recorded a game-high 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Brogdon tallied 18 and eight assists, while both Myles Turner (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Domantas Sabonis (14 points, 13 rebounds) notched double-doubles.
But the main story of the night was Holiday and McConnell, whose late-game performances captured the win. Holiday snagged a then season-high 18 points off the bench — 13 in the fourth alone. McConnell finished with a game-high 12 assists, often finding Holiday for easy buckets down the stretch.
With 4:55 remaining, Holiday broke the tie with a driving layup off Brogdon's dish. On the ensuing Hawks possession, McConnell picked the pocket of Trae Young. He then found Holiday streaking down the court for an easy hoop to begin the final run. By the time Atlanta halted the spree, it was too late to catch up. The victory capped a three-game road stretch for Indiana, who took two of three during the stint.
- Indiana has won 12 of the previous 14 meetings against Atlanta.
- The Pacers are one of just three teams in the Eastern Conference with 17 road wins this season.
- The all-time series record is 102-93 in favor of Atlanta.
A limited number of tickets for all upcoming Pacers home games from March 17 - April 21 are now on sale. Tickets for the final nine regular season home games will go on sale on Monday, April 19. Single Game Tickets » Health & Safety Guidelines »
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)