Watch The Hawks Soar
Eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks take a 2-1 lead over East top-seeded Indiana Pacers
By Vershawne Pennyamon | 4/25/2014, 10:03 a.m.
Can you smell the upset that the Atlanta Hawks are cooking?
Last night at Philips Arena, the 8th seed Atlanta Hawks defeated the top seed Indiana Pacers 98-85, in order to take a 2-1 series lead in this best of seven Eastern Conference first round matchup.
The Atlanta Hawks started the game off slow and picked it up in the second half with their defense. What led Atlanta to a victory was the intense “D” (three block shots and steals en route to 14 fast-break points).
In contrast, the Pacers had just six.
The Hawks had two players with double-doubles, Jeff Teague with 22 points and 10 assist, and Paul Millsap had 14 points and 14 rebounds. The Pacers' Lance Stephenson led the way with 21 points and 13 rebounds. That’s three double-doubles in one game, which is unheard of.
All-Star forward Paul George came out the gate in a slump. He turned the ball over in his first possession, followed by back to back fouls. He sat on the Pacers' bench for nearly a full quarter after that. He finished the half with a goose egg, but tallied 12 points in the second half to finish the game.
The Hawks shot a scorching hot 56 percent from behind the arc in the second half. Going 10 for 18 will ultimately lead any team to a victory the defensive-minded, an offensively-challenged Pacers.
Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll were the true keys to the Hawks win last night. Carroll had the task of guarding George and he excelled. He locked down George, leaving him with scoreless for the first half of the game. Carroll finished with 18 points. Korver, was an offensive threat, racking up 20 points, and shooting 57 percent from behind the arc.
Korver also showed a more diverse side, by playing great defense on George Hill and grabbing some big boards off the glass.
The topic of discussion for the Pacers is center Roy Hibbert.
“He has been our starter all season long,” Coach Frank Vogel said.
Hibbert has been in a slump lately and it continued Thursday night with a horrific stat line of four points and two rebounds. Yes, a 7’2 center with four points and two rebounds is absurd.
Pacers' role player Luis Scola posted 17 points after eclipsing 20 points in the previous contest. There are a lot of questions of whether Hibbert or Scola should start come Saturday night.
Looking forward toward game four, the Hawks look to blow the series open to 3-1 or are the Pacers looking to get even.
According to several reports, the Pacers are dealing with confrontations between Evan Turner and Lance Stephenson, the downward spiral of Hibbert’s game, with emergence of Scola, and their All-Star not performing like an All-Star--What's up, PG?
It goes without saying that Teague's game has transformed and reached another level since the start of the playoffs. But the matchup of Carroll and George is what to watch.
Now that the Hawks have home-court advantage, they must do all they can to protect their house.
Game 4 - 2 p.m. Sat, Apr 26; Pacers @ Hawks
Game 5 - 8 p.m. Mon, Apr 28; Hawks @ Pacers