Games 1 and 2 are said and done and now the Atlanta Hawks get a chance to host the Indiana Pacers for Games 3 and 4, hoping to break the 1-1 series tie in their favor.
The Hawks are entering tonight trying to move forward after a breakdown in the second half of Game 2 that left a bad taste in the team’s mouth as well as the fan base. Indiana is hoping to build on their momentum from Game 2 by grabbing a victory on the road.
Winning on the road is no easy task for the Pacers, who have only won two games at Philips Arena since 2006.
The Hawks kept with Indiana for the first half of Game 2 and will be looking to come out the same to defend their home court. The dry spell in the second half may have exposed some of the issues the Hawks have and identifying them early may help the team fix them as the series moves forward. Atlanta wasn’t running their offense as much as they had during the regular season and the Pacers finally putting themselves together of the defensive end will put pressure on the Hawks to adjust if they want to continue their push to upset the 1 seed in the Eastern Conference bracket. The Hawks still are aware of some of the lineup advantages they have and should continue to use them in Game 3.
Throughout Game 2, much attention was put on Paul George guarding Jeff Teague after his strong Game 1 performance. Jeff still had success in Game 2 with 14 points and two assists in 28 minutes of action, and his strong play will be necessary for a Hawks’ victory in Game 3.
The Pacers finally looked like the best record in the East in the second half of Game 2.
Indiana will be looking to capitalize on that performance with another 48 minutes of strong play.
The Pacers looked to their bench often in Game 2 when the starters seemed out of sorts and the likes of Luis Scola and C.J. Watson stepped up to keep the game in reach for Indiana at halftime. The starters seemed to feed off the effort of the bench and came out much stronger in the second half, ultimately making the game out of reach for the Hawks to try and comeback. The team took advantage of a good set of possessions of defense and executed on the offensive end to push out to a big lead before the Hawks conceded.
If the Pacers come out with that defensive effort again, it won’t be hard for them to make it difficult for the Hawks to win on their homecourt.
No huge changes to assignments or lineups are expected for either team, but each may still make adjustments when the game arrives.
Game 3 is set for 7 PM ET tonight and can been seen nationally on NBA TV or locally on SportSouth.