Skip to content

Pacers’ troubles continue as Hawks convincingly win Game 1

Apr 19, 2014, 10:01 PM EDT

Pacers' Hibbert looks down court during Game 6 of their NBA Eastern Conference Final basketball playoff series against the Heat in Indianapolis Reuters

The Pacers ended up with the best record in the Eastern Conference and the number one seed that goes along with it, but the team struggled mightily over the second half of the season, and limped to the finish line.

The playoffs presented a chance for Indiana to wipe the slate clean, and try to get right against a Hawks team that was eight games under .500 on the season.

After one game, things continue to be troublesome for the Pacers. Behind 28 points from Jeff Teague and 25 from Paul Millsap, the Hawks took Game 1 by a final of 101-93, in a game where Atlanta led by as many as 20 points.

Millsap and Pero Antic present matchup problems for the Pacers bigs, and for Roy Hibbert especially. His numbers on the season against Atlanta are substandard, and things were no different in this one. Hibbert managed just eight points and eight rebounds on 4-of-9 shooting, with no blocked shots while committing five turnovers. If things weren’t bad enough from a production standpoint, he even had his shot blocked by Kyle Korver — twice.

What has to be maddening for Pacers fans is the fact that the Hawks finished the season second in the league in three-point attempts at over 25 per game, yet Indiana did nothing strategically on the defensive end to make those shots more difficult to take. If you trust Hibbert as your rim protector (and you should), then the plan should be to overplay the perimeter and chase the Hawks off the three-point line, forcing them into tougher mid-range looks or to attack the normally stout defense of Hibbert inside.

Instead, the Hawks got all the threes they wanted, launching 30 in the victory. And when they did choose to go into the lane, Teague was able to get to the basket seemingly at will, with the rotations coming late or not at all from the Pacer defenders.

Indiana has always won with defense — they rank first in the league in that category on the season (per 100 possessions), but just 22nd on the offensive end of the floor. Still, the team is going to need to find a way to share the ball and create better open looks to get capable scorers like Paul George and David West the ball in position to produce. Those two combined for just 32 points on 10-of-28 shooting, which won’t be nearly enough to get it done in this series.

Lance Stephenson was the only bright spot offensively, but isolated too much to the detriment of the offense overall. He did so out of necessity because not much else was working, but Indiana needs to use Stephenson’s creativity to try to involve his teammates.

The adjustments that need to be made should be crystal clear to Frank Vogel and his staff. Whether or not the Pacers can implement them remains to be seen, and for a Hawks team that didn’t seem all that concerned with even getting to the postseason, they sure looked good in making a Game 1 statement.

Latest Posts
  1. Derrick Rose told Carmelo Anthony that if he came to Chicago “the game would be easy”

    Jul 29, 2014, 3:24 PM EDT

    2014 USA Basketball Men's National Team Practice Getty Images

    Rose said he was disappointed but he understands ‘Melo’s decision.

  2. LeBron James strips on stage, throws clothes into crowd (video)

    Jul 29, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    LeBron James LeBron James

    Want to see LeBron strip down to his underwear?

  3. Steve Nash: ‘I think this is my last season’

    Jul 29, 2014, 1:44 PM EDT

    Steve Nash, Meta World Peace Steve Nash, Meta World Peace

    Lakers guard confirms he’s planning on retirement

  4. PBT Extra: Is this the end of Donald Sterling as NBA owner?

    Jul 29, 2014, 1:11 PM EDT

    Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

    Donald Sterling isn’t going away, but he’s pretty much done as the Clippers owner now.

  5. Grizzlies name general manager Chris Wallace general manager

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:28 PM EDT

    Yes, you read that headline correctly

  6. Is DeMarcus Cousins the big man Team USA can lean on?

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:22 PM EDT

    DeMarcus Cousins AP

    The question with Cousins is never talent, but his maturity seems to be there.

  7. Report: Gary Payton assistant-coaching candidate with Lakers, Bucks

    Jul 29, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT

    Gary Payton #20 Gary Payton #20

    Jason Kidd or Byron Scott could hire former Seattle SuperSonic

  8. Kyrie Irving’s contract actually falls short of max

    Jul 29, 2014, 11:11 AM EDT

    Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving

    Irving wouldn’t get full 30 percent of adjusted salary cap by triggering Derrick Rose rule

  9. Report: Hawks draft pick ‘very likely’ to play in Spain next season

    Jul 29, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    Walter Travares, Walter Travares,

    Atlanta selected 7-foot-3 center No. 43 in 2014 NBA draft

  10. Blake Griffin backflips into sea before withdrawing from Team USA with reported back injury (video)

    Jul 29, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Six Getty Images

    Previous report said Griffin fractured back during Clippers’ playoff run, which ended before backflip video was posted

  11. Serge Ibaka still not 100 percent after unexpected playoff comeback

    Jul 29, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Three Getty Images

    Thunder forward says he’s improving, but ‘it’s going to take time’

  12. Report: Grizzlies hire Ed Stefanski for front office

    Jul 29, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    Evan Turner Press Conference Evan Turner Press Conference

    Former 76ers and Nets general manager now Memphis’ executive vice president of player personnel

  13. NBA Players union elects first female executive director in Michele Roberts

    Jul 29, 2014, 1:32 AM EDT

    Derek Fisher

    It wasn’t pretty getting there, but the union has a leader again.

  14. Kyrie Irving’s world looks pretty good right now

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:30 AM EDT

    2014 USA Basketball Men's National Team Practice Getty Images

    It’s been a good summer to be Kyrie Irving. Really good.

  15. Andre Drummond denies Draymond Green at Team USA practice (video)

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:11 PM EDT

    Andre Drummond, Jonas Jerebko, Draymond Green Andre Drummond, Jonas Jerebko, Draymond Green

    Pistons center denies Warriors forward at the rim with relatively late, but incredibly awesome, leap

  16. Report: P.J. Tucker arrested for DUI, registers .222 blood-alcohol content

    Jul 28, 2014, 9:14 PM EDT

    Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

    Tucker also re-signed with Suns for $16.5 million this offseason

  17. Report: As NBPA focuses on after-party, agents want union vote delayed

    Jul 28, 2014, 8:47 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Atlanta Hawks Los Angeles Clippers v Atlanta Hawks

    National Basketball Players Associate scheduled to vote on Billy Hunter’s replacement today

Featured video

Why can't Lakers have a player-coach?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. T. Warren (4732)
  2. L. James (4425)
  3. K. Love (4094)
  4. J. Nelson (3565)
  5. R. Allen (3449)
  1. D. Rose (3251)
  2. C. Anthony (2974)
  3. K. Bryant (2880)
  4. A. Wiggins (2307)
  5. A. Aminu (2193)