Skip to content

Hawks have no answers for Pacers offense, now are down 2-0

Apr 24, 2013, 11:31 PM EDT

Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game Two Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks have a problem. Well, right now they have a lot of problems, but one is bigger than the others — they cannot stop the Indiana Pacers offense.

That would be the Pacers offense that was 19th in the NBA in points per possession this past season (or if you prefer the offense that averaged 94.7 points per game, 23rd in NBA). That would be the Pacers offense that nobody feared. Their defense was what made this team a threat. The offense was the weak link. But the Pacers put up 109 points in Game 1 against the Hawks.

Then in Game 2, they beat that and cruised through the fourth quarter to a 113-98 win. That puts the Pacers up 2-0 heading to Atlanta for Game 3 on Saturday night.

Give the Hawks credit for standing up and trying to match the Pacers energy and physicality, but while the Pacers play their style for 48 minutes the Hawks have lapses. And those lapses mean Pacers runs and the Hawks keep finding themselves in holes they cannot get out of.

Indiana got its best games from its big stars Wednesday. Paul George was aggressive from the start and finished with 27 points (on 11-of-21 shooting). George Hill had 22 points (on 12 shots) and Roy Hibbert had a strong game with 15 points and 9 rebounds.

The Hawks did a much better job of attacking, trying to get points in the paint and pushing the pace early in the game. It worked early in the first quarter, but as the pace slowed down some the Pacers got their defense set and contested everything. Hawks shot just 42.1 percent for the first quarter. Plus, that aggressiveness from the Hawks led to two Josh Smith fouls in the first three minutes of the game and he sat a long time, making the Hawks easier to defend.

At the end of the first quarter came a great example of the the kind of mental lapses that did the Hawks in. Going for a final shot Devin Harris tried to drive, he ran into the brick wall that is Hibbert so he tried to fall and draw the foul but didn’t get the call. Indiana grabbed the loose ball then the Hawks’ Johan Petro committed a foul on Paul George in the backcourt with 0.7 seconds left (George hit one of two free throws). Then the Hawks turned the ball over on the inbound and with 0.4 the Pacers got off a final shot (Hibbert knocked down a three but released it just a click after the buzzer so it didn’t count). All that may have been just one point but it really summed up the kind of lapses the Hawks had all night.

The Pacers much-feared defense, which struggled some at the end of the season, once again didn’t distinguish itself. The Hawks are scoring plenty. It’s the kind of trend that could get the Pacers in real trouble in the next round against the dangerous Knicks offense. If Frank Vogel has one thing to focus on the next few days, it is this.

But that weakness didn’t matter because the Hawks couldn’t slow the Pacers offense. It wasn’t just the shooting, it was the Pacers turning the ball over less, getting more offensive rebounds and being more aggressive so they drew more fouls.

And that aggressiveness wore the Hawks down. Somewhere late in the third quarter you could see the energy the Hawks had fade away. They had tried to match the Pacers, but by the fourth they had all but thrown in the towel. There were a couple pushes by the Hawks, but the Pacers would answer and grow the lead. The Hawks body language was that of a defeated team.

At home the Hawks may have keep that energy back up — they were a dramatically better team at home this season. They need to play faster, they need to keep their big men out of foul trouble and on the court, they need a lot of things.

But the biggest is they need to find a way to stop the Pacers offense. Fast.

Latest Posts
  1. Iman Shumpert drops Paul Pierce with the crossover (VIDEO)

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:46 PM EDT

    Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Video of one player executing a crossover that drops another player to the floor — you know you’re watching.

  2. D’Antoni didn’t know draft lottery implications for Lakers after win over Jazz

    Apr 15, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT

    Mike D'Antoni AP

    Mike D’Antoni had no idea how beating the Jazz on Monday would negatively impact his team’s Draft Lottery chances. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  3. Carmelo Anthony has torn labrum, Knicks shut him down for season

    Apr 15, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT

    Carmelo Anthony AP

    Anthony is out for the rest of the season but will not be surgery and will be good to go next season.

  4. Celtics’ legend Cedric Maxwell stood in location of Boston Marathon bombing just minutes before

    Apr 15, 2014, 5:31 PM EDT

    Just 7-8 minutes before, Cedric Maxwell had stood next to one of the people killed in the Boston Marathon bombing, but he decided to go inside and get warm.

  5. With top spot secure, Pacers to rest George, West, Stephenson, Watson Wednesday

    Apr 15, 2014, 4:41 PM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

    With nothing on line Pacers going to rest key guys… except Hibbert.

  6. Could Nets rest guys hoping to face Raptors instead of Bulls in first round? (They didn’t)

    Apr 15, 2014, 3:46 PM EDT

    Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaun Livingston, Deron Williams Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaun Livingston, Deron Williams

    It’s not something you could ever prove (and the Nets may not even do it), but they could rest guys in hopes of falling into a first-round matchup with Toronto.

  7. Damian Lillard not making friends in latest Foot Locker ad (VIDEO)

    Apr 15, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT

    Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Damian Lillard doesn’t want to end up like all those players without rings. The ones sitting in his living room.

  8. 2014 PBT Awards: Executive of the Year

    Apr 15, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT

    Ryan McDonough Ryan McDonough

    Two general managers make all three ballots, one tops each

  9. Luol Deng wins J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

    Apr 15, 2014, 1:40 PM EDT

    Paul George, Luol Deng Paul George, Luol Deng

    Award honors ‘outstanding service and dedication to the community’

  10. Fan runs into Chandler Parson’s car on way to game, asks for autograph

    Apr 15, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    It was just a fender bender, the good news is nobody got hurt. However, Chandler Parsons was delayed getting to the Toyota Center for the Rockets game Monday when he got into an accident. And then the other driver found out who he was and… I will let Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tell…

  11. Jordan Farmar crosses up Trey Burke, drops him — in the backcourt (VIDEO)

    Apr 15, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Utah Jazz v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

    And Burke is one of the best rookies in this class….

  12. Playoff Chase: We know all 16 teams going to dance, who dances with whom still up in air

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

    Jeff Teague, George Hill, David West Jeff Teague, George Hill, David West

    We know for sure the Pacers play the Hawks in the first round, and we know the Rockets and Blazers will meet. After that all the matchups are still up in the air.

  13. Amar’e Stoudemire has discussed playing in Israel

    Apr 15, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    Amar'e Stoudemire, Taj Gibson Amar'e Stoudemire, Taj Gibson

    Knicks forward come become free agent this offseason

  14. PBT Podcast: Time to start talking playoffs

    Apr 15, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT

    Portland Trail Blazers v Indiana Pacers Getty Images

    The Pacers are in a good spot with home court advantage in the East. Without Andrew Bogut the Warriors are in trouble out West.

  15. 2014 PBT Awards: Sixth Man of the Year

    Apr 15, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    It’s a two-man race between Spurs and Clippers guards

Featured video

Woodson, D'Antoni's coaching futures
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Williams (4187)
  2. D. Wade (4010)
  3. K. Love (3844)
  4. L. James (3312)
  5. G. Dragic (3239)
  1. C. Anthony (3159)
  2. D. Howard (3143)
  3. S. Curry (3142)
  4. R. Rondo (2928)
  5. D. Lee (2899)