The Atlanta Hawks took the first of back-to-back home games Thursday night against the top-seed Indiana Pacers to grab a 2-1 lead in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Today, the Hawks are looking to sweep the Pacers at home and force Indiana into a win or go home scenario at home.
Thursday’s win was extremely important for the Hawks (especially considering the poor shooting at the start of the game) and showed the team and fans that they are capable of being the aggressors out of the gate. That mentality is what the team needs to shoot for in today’s match-up as well because at this point, the Pacers have to be feeling the pressure.
The big story in this one is going to be what Frank Vogel decides big man Roy Hibbert’s role will be. After struggling throughout all three of the first games in this series (he has just 18 points and 14 rebounds combined), Vogel made some comments that seem to hint at Hibbert coming off of the bench.
As a writer in the Hawks’ corner I’m not exactly sure which scenario would be better for Atlanta. Yes, the Pacers have done better with a smaller rotation, but Hibbert is a beast when he’s going 100 percent. Regardless of how well he plays, it should be interesting to see what Vogel decides to do, and how Mike Budenholzer responds.
Eyes should be on Jeff Teague yet again to lead the Hawks to success, but if what we saw in game three continues, he should have significantly more help than what we witnessed during Tuesday’s loss.
While Pero Antic only managed a single point, DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver both stepped out of their offensive slumps and added 18 and 20 points respectively. The duo shot a combined 12-17 from the floor and also 6-11 from the 3-point line. That kind of shooting to help space the floor will continue to let Teague and Paul Millsap go to work off of the dribble and in the paint. And if Hibbert isn’t going to be in the lane to slow anyone down, it could be even better.
This series has already been a good one for the Hawks, but with a win today people will start to believe an upset is actually possible. And it definitely is. If you don’t think so, you haven’t been paying attention.
Date: April 26, 2014
Tip-Off Time: 2:00 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
Point Spread: Pacers by 2 points
Tags: Atlanta Hawks