Apr 26, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer (center in coat and tie) talks to his players during a time out against the Indiana Pacers during the second half in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. The Pacers defeated the Hawks 91-88. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks vs. Indiana Pacers game 5 preview: Pero Antic the key?


After splitting games in Atlanta, the Hawks are traveling back to Indiana today with their first round against the Pacers tied at 2-2. Tonight will be the first game of a now best-of-three series and the first team to win two more games will be advancing to the second round.

During game four, Paul Millsap was the guy with the Hawks on his back, and managed to rack up 29 points on 10-18 shooting despite getting into early foul trouble. Jeff Teague was solid, but didn’t assert himself as much throughout the game and also shot just 5-15 from the floor.

If the Hawks are going to take another win on the road against the Pacers, it starts with Teague and the pace he is able to get Atlanta to play at. Here’s what Kris Willis, with Peach Tree Hoops, had to say on the subject:

At this point in the series its doubtful either team has a surprise left to deploy. Now its about execution and making shots. One thing the Hawks need to improve on from Game 4 is upping the pace of the game and that starts with point guard Jeff Teague. Anytime the Hawks are forced to go against a set Pacers’ defense things are going to be difficult whether Hibbert is on the floor or not.

Throughout the series the Pacers really haven’t been the defensive team they are known for being, but they showed glimpses of that team during game four. Avoiding that is going to be crucial.

A key position in doing this is center for the Hawks. Roy Hibbert‘s struggles have been widely known and discussed, but both Pero Antic and Elton Brand have struggled as well for Atlanta. Antic’s ability to spread the floor and force whoever’s guarding him out near the perimeter is a great card to be able to play, but the strategy only works when he’s making shots. During game four he was just 1-6 from the field, 0-3 from the 3-point line and scored just two points.

For tonight, Antic is certainly the player to watch for me, as I’m confident that Millsap and Teague will be bringing their game. Vegas has the Hawks as 6.5-point underdogs in this one. Be sure to follow us on Twitter throughout the game and leading up to it (@ATLBeatBlog) and also check back after for a full game recap.

Date: April 28, 2014

Tip-Off Time: 8:00 p.m.

TV Channel: SportSouth (Local in Atlanta), NBA TV

Radio: 92.9 FM (Atlanta Flagship), Atlanta Hawks Radio Network Affiliates

Live Stream: League Pass Broadband

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks