It’s rare to see a playoff team win Game 1 on the road. It’s even rarer for an 8th seed to do it against a No. 1 seed.
The Hawks made the trip to Indianapolis and shocked the struggling Indiana Pacers with much of the thanks going to Indianapolis native Jeff Teague, who had a lot to do with the Hawks’ 101-93 victory.
Jeff has been in this position before. Monday will be the one year anniversary from Jeff and the Hawks entering the Bankers Life Fieldhouse to take on the Pacers in the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. That night, Jeff put in a strong performance with 21 points and 7 assists while shooting 50% from the field. He went on to have a good game 2 and 3 before his shooting woes began to become a problem the rest of the series, which ultimately left many debating his future as he entered restricted free agency.
Here we are a year later, Jeff has a four-year contract and the past month has been home to several appearances of a more aggressive Jeff Teague that is making fans beg for more.
The Hawks haven’t been considered a threat in the playoffs since losing Al Horford back in December, and Paul Millsap’s matchup with David West left a much needed boost from elsewhere. One of the few advantages the Hawks have is Jeff Teague’s matchup with another Indianapolis native, George Hill. The two share a similar frame and attacking ability, but Jeff has been considered the better player of the two. Teague never fully took advantage of the situation last year and it could even be argued that Hill looked better in that series. It almost seemed like Jeff had that series on his mind as he continued to attack the basket all of Saturday night.
Jeff finished Game 1 with 28 points on shooting 9-19 from the field, along five assists and only two turnovers in 35 minutes of action. He managed to get to the line on a few occasions, draining 9-of10 attempts.
The fact Pero Antic kept Roy Hibbert on the perimeter throughout the night may be a contributor to the extra opportunities for Jeff to attack the basket and one can hope that will continue as the series continues.
Teague was also part of a great effort by the entire roster on defense that played a huge part in the Hawks’ win.
Going forward, Jeff Teague’s effort will be a huge factor if the Hawks want to continue their upset bid. The Pacers may look to focus more on Jeff next game, but this may open up some opportunities for teammates to get good looks that weren’t there in Game 1.
Game 2 of the series is set for 7 P.M. ET in Indianapolis.
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