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NBA Playoff Previews: Pacers/Hawks Game 5, and Spurs desperate for a win

Apr 28, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Four Getty Images

Three games on tap Monday night and two of them should be fascinating — Atlanta and Indiana in a crucial Game 5, and the Spurs down 2-1 to Dallas will be desperate for a win.

Miami Heat at Charlotte Bobcats (Heat lead series 3-0). Can the Bobcats win one? That’s really the only question left in this series. They can — they have played Miami tough twice in this series, they can have another close game. But what they really need is one of those Miami Heat on a mental vacation nights. You know Charlotte will bring their best effort, but if LeBron James and Dwyane Wade come ready to really close this thing out there is not a whole lot Charlotte can do.

Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers (series tied 2-2). Indiana has home court advantage and full control of its destiny back — if they can build upon the win in Game 4 in Atlanta. Building on any success is not something the Pacers have done well for the better part of a month. Vogel needs to continue to go with the small lineup of David West and Luis Scola — that means benching Roy Hibbert for long stretches — and they need Paul George to continue to play well. Atlanta needs to play the game at a faster pace, not let the Pacers grind it down, and they need another monster night from Jeff Teague. Atlanta has won in Indy already in this series, do it again and they control their destiny.

San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks (Dallas leads series 2-1). The book on Dallas was they needed big nights from Dirk Nowitzki to beat the Spurs, and for the last two games Nowitzki has been held to fewer than 20 points thanks to great defense from Tiago Splitter. Yet Dallas has still won because Monta Ellis, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Devin Harris and the other Mavs have stepped up. Dallas needs that again, San Antonio needs to tighten up its defensive rotations and slow those other guys. Tony Parker needs a big game — he should own Jose Calderon and the rest of the Mavs point guard matchups. I expect we will see a more familiar Spurs team in Game 4 and an even series when this game is over… but Dallas keeps surprising me.

  1. chicagosports2014 - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    COM on MEN, we mite need yall to beat Miami! “

  2. aboogy123456 - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    I think the Mavs have been doing a great job on parker and it looks like the reason they are making it hard is because they are switching on every pick and getting away with it. It’s made it hard for parker to penetrate, and even when he has a slower big on him, the rest of the team does a good job protecting the lane. I’m interested to see how parker can adjust.

    • savvybynature - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Mavs have been sticking Marion on Parker too, in addition to all the switching, so it’s not as easy as just torching Calderon. Of course Parker could do that, but Carlisle is hiding Calderon on a spot up shooter.
      Curious to see if we will see Manu inserted into the starting lineup. Pop has used that as a kind of trump card in the past, because then there is no one to hide a below average perimeter defender on.

  3. realfootballfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    With everyone worried about the Pacers, and they do stink these days, the Spurs have their back up against the wall tonight. If they lose tonight, it’s pretty much over how the Mavericks have been taking it to them offensively. I just can’t see the Spurs winning 3 in a row with how this series is playing out if they lose tonight.

  4. jjared1101 - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    As a Mavs fan who watched San Antonio over the last 2 years+ win 11 straight times against Dallas, they most certainly can win 3 in a row against them.

    • realfootballfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      You must not be watching your team play in this series. We’re not talking about what happened the last couple of years, we’re talking about now. I think they had beaten the Grizzlies so many straight times a few years back when they got drummed out of the first round that year. Realistically, the Mavs have dominated this series outside of a game one collapse. I wouldn’t be so flippant about their chances based on regular season wins.

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