192 minutes have been played in the first-round series between the Hawks and Pacers and the teams are all knotted at two games apiece entering tonight’s vital Game 5 at Indiana.
Many believed that five games was all that would be needed to decide this series but now the two teams find themselves in a familiar situation as the series is tied at 2-2 going back to Indiana, which is the exact same scenario they faced last year when they squared off in the first round.
This time around, Game 4 was by far the closest 48 minutes of the series so far and is leaving a lot of uncertainty in what may occur when the series resumes tonight.
Game 5 was the turning point for the series in the 2013 playoffs between these two teams as the Pacers defended their home court before earning their first victory in Atlanta in seven years to finish off the Hawks in six games and advance to the second round.
The Pacers will be looking to do the same after regaining their home court advantage with the victory in Game 4.
Indiana’s effort on Saturday night was much closer to what is expected of the top seed in the East, but the team still showed weakness and the Hawks managed to take advantage before falling short in the final moments of the fourth quarter. The Pacers had solid contributions from Paul George and David West, but Lance Stephenson struggled to score and Roy Hibbert continued his stretch of poor performances that ultimately led to a shorter amount of playing time.
The Hawks managed to keep the game in reach in front of a great crowd at Philips Arena, but Paul Millsap’s foul trouble and a lack of execution near the end of the game played huge roles in putting the game in favor of the Pacers.
Atlanta still saw great games from a number of players and execution by the second unit, as well as the continuation of all-star caliber minutes from Jeff Teague, which will be huge factors for the team if they wish to grab another upset victory on the road.
No huge adjustments are expected from either team once again as the tip-off approaches. Both teams seemed to favor smaller lineups near the end of Game 4, and those rotations may continue into Game 5.
Tip-off tonight is set for 8 P.M. ET. The game will be aired nationally on NBA TV and locally on SportSouth.