After taking game one from the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, the Atlanta Hawks will be going for their second win on the road in the playoffs tonight–it would be the first time in franchise history:
If the Hawks win tonight, it will mark the first time in franchise history they have won the 1st 2 of a playoff series on the road.
— Bob Rathbun (@BobRathbunTV) April 22, 2014
In addition to eclipsing that milestone, the Hawks will be set up extremely well for the rest of their best-of-seven series with the Pacers. However, with an extreme amount of pressure currently on the Pacers, they are preparing to respond in a big way, with a new game plan likely centered around Jeff Teague after his career playoff-high 28 points Saturday.
Teague was so frustrating to Indiana, that coach Frank Vogel talked about putting Paul George on the point guard (Peachtree Hoops):
Frankly (with no pun intended for Coach Vogel), this is the move that is screaming at the Pacers head coach right now. In fact, we discussed Indiana’s potential ability to use George on Teague even before Game 1’s decimation, and with their backs against the wall, it appears as if Vogel and/or George have come to the same conclusion.
This would obviously make scoring more difficult for Teague, but the Hawks’ game plan should (and most likely will) remain the same, regardless of who plays defense on him. Let Teague drive to the basket and have teammates spread the floor and find open looks. The 3-point game is extremely important for Atlanta, and if George is going to be guarding a driving Teague it will be crucial for the perimeter players to hit from deep.
In addition, the Pacers are planning on becoming much more physical in game two. As long as the officiating doesn’t change too drastically (no reason to expect that it would) the Hawks should be more than happy with this mentality, as Atlanta did well from the free throw line in game one:
Indiana was whistled for 29 fouls in Game 1 while the Hawks were whistled for 20. Atlanta went 24-29 from the free throw line while the Pacers were 16-23. Its not uncommon for teams especially in the postseason to use the media to try and leverage the officiating but it is odd in this case. Anyone that watched Game 1 knows that the officials had zero to do with the outcome and that the Hawks took it to the Pacers for 48 minutes.
Tonight is certainly set up to be an exciting game two, and a completely different one than what we saw on Saturday. After Atlanta’s 101-93 win in game one, Vegas still has the Hawks as 7.5-point road underdogs tonight. I’d argue that the spread should be smaller than that, but who cares?
Follow us on Twitter (@ATLBeatBlog) throughout the day for updates and information, and be sure to check back here tonight after the game for a full recap.
Date: April 22, 2014
Tip-Off Time: 7:00 p.m.
TV Channel: SportSouth (Local in Atlanta), TNT
Radio: 92.9 FM (Atlanta Flagship), Atlanta Hawks Radio Network Affiliates
Live Stream: League Pass Broadband