Apr 22, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott (32) battles for a loose ball against Indiana Pacers guard C.J. Watson (32) and center Ian Mahinmi (28) in game two during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Pacers vs Hawks: Game 4 Preview - Atlanta Looks to Take Commanding 3-1 Series Lead Over Indiana

Apr 24, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Elton Brand (42) shoots the ball against the Indiana Pacers in the first quarter in game three of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Even the most optimistic of predictions didn’t have the Hawks in complete control of this series just three games in.

The Pacers crumble in the past month has been well-documented but the same cannot be said for Hawks’ rise. After sitting at 32-41 and in danger of falling out of playoff positioning, the Hawks won 8 of their last 11 regular-season games to lock up the No. 8 seed in the East. In the process, the Hawks made sure all their major players were healthy and tightened up the rotations they would use in the playoffs.

Through three games, the Hawks look to have out maneuvered the top-seeded Pacers. Indiana looked completely baffled on offense whereas the Atlanta has continued to play their game of spacing and ball sharing.

Jeff Teague has led the way for the Hawks with 21.3 points and 6.3 assists per contest as he’s unquestionably been the fastest player on the court in every game. He has wreaked havoc in transition, stealing the ball and throwing it down on the other end.

Part of the Pacers blame has fallen on the once defensively stout Roy Hibbert, who is struggling so mightily, head coach Frank Vogel may be considering a lineup change. A change in defensive assignments helped the Pacers to a Game 2 victory but demoting your highest paid player may send shock waves through the locker room and signify full-blown turmoil.

There’s reason to think the Pacers can bounce back, however.

Despite being down 2-1, through three games, the Pacers have out rebounded and outshot the Hawks from the floor in general and from behind the 3-point arc.

If the Hawks want to secure a Game 4 victory and a commanding 3-1 series lead, they’ll have to consistently spread the floor and hit open shots.

Tip-off is at 2 PM ET.

But don’t forget to get to Philips Arena early to Pound A Pacer!

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Tags: 2014 NBA Playoffs Atlanta Hawks

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