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Pacers assert themselves (as do referees), take charge of series with easy win over Hawks

May 1, 2013, 11:44 PM EDT

Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game Five Getty Images

The NBA’s conventional wisdom is that star players are good everywhere but role players tend to be better at home.

In the case of the Pacers and Hawks, the entire team persona seems to flip depending on where the game is played.

Game 5 was back in Indiana and after a couple dismal performances on the road the Pacers played their best game of the series on their way to a 106-83 win behind 63 points from their starting front line.

The Pacers lead the series 3-2, with Game 6 back in Atlanta Friday night. Based on how this series has gone, expect a huge night from the Hawks.

Also, let’s hope the referees aren’t as whistle happy as they were Wednesday night. The third quarter took nearly an hour (58 minutes) thanks to the constant whistles. And nobody was playing hack-an-anybody. But we’ll talk more about that later.

Indiana finally made some adjustments to the Hawks starting Johan Petro (moving Al Horford to the four and Josh Smith to the three). The Pacers put the ball in Paul George’s hands and ran him off pick-and-rolls —Smith, normally playing the four, isn’t used to having to cover the ball handler coming off that pick and he was getting knocked out of position all night. In the first half George shot 4-of-4 with 4 assists (he finished with 18 points).

Then in the second quarter the Pacers just pounded it with their big men inside — David West had 12 in second quarter as he just was more physical than the Hawks front line. Roy Hibbert had 14 in the first half, mostly by going 8-of-8 at free throw line as he was aggressive and attacking again. He does that at home.

Meanwhile, the Hawks went back to struggling against the Pacers defense, shooting just 37.5 percent in the first half. The Pacers led 50-43 at the break.

Indiana came out in the second half on an 18-5 run to put the game away. The Hawks shot 4-of-14 in the third quarter, and by the time the quarter ended the game pretty much has as well.

Of course, it took forever for the third quarter to end. Thanks to the referees.

The game had started to get a little chippy as playoff games will, and the referees decided to control that by whistling down everything — 13 fouls were called on the Pacers, 5 on the hawks and there were another 3 technicals. As noted before, it was a 58-minute quarter. It took longer than a soccer half with 5 minutes of injury time tacked on.

West finished with 24 points, George had 21 on 7-of-8 shooting, Roy Hibbert had 18 and George Hill 15. All of them outscored the Hawks leaders, Smith and Horford with 14 a piece.

Before you draw concussions about how the Pacers’ varied attack sets the tone for Game 6, just remember it goes back to Atlanta and that game will likely look nothing at all like this one.

  1. eboneseagles - May 2, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    It’s a good series yet no one cares lol

  2. xli2006 - May 2, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    Those are supposed to be some of the best Refs the NBA has to offer? Wow.

    Right from the opening tip the Refs botched the clock, calls, Techs, and really dampened the flow of the game. Even as a Pacer fan, its just difficult to watch games where the Refs do such a choppy job.

  3. wwttww - May 2, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    This is just like the 09 Heat Hawks series…every game was double digits, but still went 7 games.

  4. its50 - May 2, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    how come kurt never writes articles on how the refs help out the cHeat? oh, but the pacers, sure. write away

    • Kurt Helin - May 2, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      If you had any reading comprehension skills, you’d note I said the referees calls dragged the game out, not favored one side. Again, in the third quarter 13 calls against the Pacers, 5 against the Hawks.

  5. kavika6 - May 2, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    I keep hearing people say that this is the most boring series. I don’t think it’s as boring as the Bulls/Nets.

  6. supremekingz - May 2, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    How can you possibly say Nets/Bulls is boring? Did you not watch what Nate did in the game before last?

  7. skids003 - May 2, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    I guess in the interest of speeding the game up the refs shouldn’t call anything? Does that sound stupid, or is it just me?

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