Game 2 between the No. 8 Atlanta Hawks and the No. 1 Indiana Pacers is set for tonight in Indianapolis, and the discussion of how the teams are preparing is the hot topic as tip-off approaches.
The Hawks are hoping to build off their strong play from Game 1, in which they earned an impressive 101-93 upset victory, but the Pacers find themselves searching for answers on how to fix many of the issues they endured on Saturday night.
One focus for Indiana is how to contain Atlanta’s dynamic point guard Jeff Teague, who torched counterpart George Hill for 28 points.
There is now evidence that the Pacers may shift All-Star small forward Paul George over to guard Teague in hopes of containing him in Game 2:
Paul George when asked abt taking a turn defending #Hawks PG Jeff Teague: “Yes, I would love to. Just to change it up, give him a diff look”
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) April 20, 2014
Indiana head coach Frank Vogel was a bit more coy than George was, saying “Maybe. We’ll see, ” when asked about lineup changes for Game 2.
Teague’s stellar performance was partially aided due to both Paul Millsap and Pero Antic pushing David West and Roy Hibbert out toward the perimeter, leaving room for Jeff to attack the basket. He may have more difficulty getting past Paul George in comparison to George Hill, but those opportunities may still be there.
Paul George guarding Teague would likely push 6’2″ point guard George Hill to guard 6’8″ small forward DeMarre Carroll. The Hill-Carroll matchup still isn’t something Indiana should desire as DeMarre can be a threat offensively at times — he finished Game 1 with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and the Hawks could look to him more if the Pacers do make changes to their defensive assignments.
The Hawks seem to matchup well with the top-seeded Pacers, and will likely continue to try to take advantage of any matchup they can. Indiana still has a few other issues to deal with, and Game 2 is considered a must win for them if they wish to avoid the upset.
The Hawks will look to build momentum off their Game 1 win on Saturday with a strong performance tonight in Game 2.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 p,m, (ET) and can be seen nationally on TNT or locally on SportSouth.