Skip to content

Pacers use trademark defense, resurgent Roy Hibbert to secure Game 7 win over Hawks

May 3, 2014, 9:05 PM EDT

Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game Seven Getty Images

When the Hawks fell apart down the stretch of Game 6 and saw the Pacers use a 16-4 run to close it out and send the series back to Indiana for a Game 7, they had to know their chances of advancing at that point were extremely slim.

Those chances were there at home, but a lack of execution late was unlikely to turn into precision basketball on the road. The Pacers used a strong start by Roy Hibbert and some stifling second-quarter defense to take control, and led by as many 18 points before settling on a 92-80 victory that will send them to a second round matchup against the Wizards.

As for the Hawks, they weren’t supposed to make it this far. But while they used matchups to their advantage for the bulk of the series, they simply didn’t have the veteran presence — either on the floor or from the coaching staff on the bench — to guide the team through the treacherous waters of trying to upend a number one seed.

Hibbert had been missing in action for the entire series, but got going early in this one by scoring eight points in the game’s first eight minutes. Whether Atlanta changed its defensive strategy because of Hibbert’s prior ineffectiveness is unclear, but he was catching the ball in deep post position and was getting his shots to fall.

The offensive resurgence helped him engage on the defensive end. Hibbert finished with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting in almost 31 minutes of action, to go along with seven rebounds and five blocked shots, and Indiana will hold out hope that this performance energizes Hibbert for the bigger challenges that await as the team continues to advance.

In addition to Hibbert, Paul George continued to regain his All-Star form, and finished with a game-high 30 points on 11-of-23 shooting, to go along with 11 rebounds. Lance Stephenson played at a frenetic pace defensively, and was under control for the most part in adding 19 points and 14 rebounds of his own.

For Atlanta to have a shot in this one, they would have needed a superhuman performance out of someone, and simply didn’t get it. Only Kyle Korver shot the ball at a respectable clip, while players like Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Mike Scott were dismal in terms of their shooting percentage, and as a team, the Hawks attempted 22 more shots than the Pacers, but converted five fewer of those attempts.

Indiana didn’t blow the Hawks out of the building, but controlled the game from the second quarter on while for the most part showcasing their league-best defense. The Pacers will need every bit of that in the next round against the Wizards, a team that on paper presents another very interesting matchup for the East’s top-seeded team to try and manage.

Latest Posts
  1. Stephen Curry says he, Klay Thompson would be best NBA Jam duo in NBA

    Aug 20, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Best NBA Jam duo on a current team? Give me Durant and Westbrook.

  2. Lakers top 10 plays of the 2013-14 season (VIDEO)

    Aug 19, 2014, 10:29 PM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Highlights only serve as a reminder of just how bad things were in Los Angeles.

  3. Matt Bonner goes new car shopping, chooses Chevy

    Aug 19, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Matt Bonner

    Bonner now drives a 2014 Chevy Impala.

  4. It’s official, after 39 seasons NBA referee Dick Bavetta retires

    Aug 19, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT

    Dick Bavetta AP

    He’s 74, seems like a good time to hang it up.

  5. Steve Ballmer says even at $2 billion Clippers “perfectly decent investment”

    Aug 19, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT

    Steve Ballmer Steve Ballmer

    Ballmer sounded a little raspy and hoarse while on the Dan Patrick show Tuesday. Wonder why?

  6. Team USA cutdown could come Thursday, likely a few days later

    Aug 19, 2014, 12:43 PM EDT

    Brazil v United States Getty Images

    From the outside looking in, it seems three spots will be divided between Mason Plumlee, Andre Drummond, Chandler Parsons, Gordon Hayward and Kyle Korver.

  7. Brooklyn GM: No plan to put minutes restriction Brook Lopez

    Aug 19, 2014, 12:24 PM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    They need him healthy this season, same with Deron Williams.

  8. Even high school Kobe was a fourth-quarter bad a** (VIDEO)

    Aug 19, 2014, 11:17 AM EDT

    kobe_bryant_highschool_photo

    The myth of Kobe Bryant continues to grow.

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2769)
  2. P. George (2631)
  3. L. James (2537)
  4. D. Cousins (2522)
  5. R. Allen (2114)
  1. S. Marion (2105)
  2. K. Bryant (2094)
  3. C. Anthony (1958)
  4. A. Davis (1950)
  5. S. Curry (1840)