PLUCK THE HAWKS
Game Time Start: 7:30 PM ET
Where: The Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Officials: K. Mauer, E. Malloy, S. Wright, G. Zielinski
Radio: WFNI 1070 AM / WCNN 680 AM, 93.7 FM
Media Notes: Indiana Notes, Atlanta Notes
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Season Records: (W-L) 1 50-32
Upcoming Games: Apr 27 Apr 29 May 01 May 03 at at vs at 7:00pm 7:30pm TBD TBD
Projected Starting Lineup: HIBBERT WEST GEORGE STEPHENSON HILL Projected Starting Lineup: HORFORD SMITH KORVER HARRIS TEAGUE
Danny Granger - left knee surgery (out)
Zaza Pachulia - sore right Achilles (out)
Josh Smith - sprained right ankle (probable)
Lou Williams - torn ACL, right knee (out)
Perpetually Disappointing Trader Joe Minimally Relevant Video:
Eight Points Nine Seconds: Jared Wade: The Paul George Triple-Double Game
Paul George probably just played the best playoff game of his career while missing 10
of the 13 shots he took. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to convince people that shot-
making and playing great are two different things, but nothing I have ever written can
show that as well as George’s did today.
He was brilliant. It wasn’t just the numbers: 23 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds, 18 free-
It was the approach.
He was such a joy to watch because he was aggressive while still letting the game come
That seems contradictory, but for George those two outlooks are one in the same.
Tim Donahue, the other editor of this site and a guy who has spent a lot more time
around these players than I have, has been struck by how Paul George discusses his
approach to the game. Earlier in the season, when he first started to rise to another
level of play, George would often say that he was trying to be more aggressive while
still letting the game come to him. Then he would just sort of laugh to himself, knowing
how silly that sentence sounds. But he just had no other way to describe what he was
trying to do.
This game was that.
He was super aggressive at the times when he should be aggressive. See, if Larry Drew
is going to put Kyle Korver on Paul George then Paul George should drive by him every
time he catches the ball. Finding himself in that matchup and then being super aggressive
when he has Korver on an island is letting the game come to him.
But the most important part is that, even when the game came to him and whispered in
his ear, “pssst... just go right by this slow-footed offense-only player,” he did not force
George wasn’t bulldozing his way into the lane and throwing up low-percentage attempts
just because he got into the paint. He has done that in the past. A ton of NBA players do
it. There seems to be an entitlement factor to it. It’s as if the player thinks they have
earned the shot attempt — the opportunity to put an extra 2 points in their personal stat
column — because they made a nice move to get into the lane. It isn’t so different from
the big man who will get an offensive board and then toss some lackluster shot towards
the rim, thinking that “Hey, I earned this extra possession — I’m going to use it.”
In the regular season, George would fall into that trap a little bit. He didn’t seem to be
simply trying to score just for his own personal desires, he just seemed like an
inexperienced penetrator. He legitimately just hadn’t been in the situation enough where
he was moving forward with the ball and sort of open but not really. So he would take a
little dippy do fling towards the rim.
Today, he did none of that. He was a dart to the rim when he went. And when he was
cut off mid-drive, he dished it to an open teammate.
It was a beautiful approach to behold...CONTINUE READING AT 8p9s
Peachtree Hoops: Jason Walker: Larry Drew voluntarily fouled out Al Horford in Game 1
Al Horford played 28 minutes in a playoff game that the Atlanta Hawks could have won,
but didn't. Something has to change.
In the second quarter of Game 1 in the case of Atlanta Hawks v. Indiana Pacers, Al
Horford jumped to catch a pass over Lance Stephenson, snagged it and spun to the hoop
to jam it home, screaming with power as he completed the sequence.
It was Horford's fourth basket in two and a half minutes of game play and the Hawks
had narrowed the host Pacers' lead to five points. Momentum was shifting. All four of
Horford's baskets came within five feet of the hoop, gashing the Pacers huge front line
with his ability to take the slower Pacers off the dribble.
The Hawks best player and the heart of the team was rolling and the rest of the Hawks
was coming back behind him.
30 seconds later, with 5:29 left in the first half, Stephenson would put himself in the
path of a transitioning Horford around midcourt in an effort to slow the Hawks big man
down. Horford would put his arm on the Pacer wingman and then Stephenson flailed
wildly, enticing referee David Jones to call an offensive foul away from the ball.
It shouldn't have been a foul. I certainly shouldn't have cost Al Horford the rest of the
half, but that's what it did.
It was Horford's second personal foul and Larry Drew decided the risk of Horford
picking up a third foul in the first half was too great to his team's success and he
benched him for the rest of the half.
Oh, the fallacies of such fraidy-cat strategery.
Some might say that, score-wise, it wasn't a big deal. Horford left down seven and
the Hawks ended the half down eight. I counter by asking would the Hawks have
been in an even better position with their best player on the floor instead? Horford
was dominating out there and Drew acted as if nothing was happening.
As the second half played, despite the extended rest his big man had received
thanks to such a careful foul accrual policy, Drew didn't change his substitution
pattern at all for Horford. Horford came out with almost four minutes left to play
in the quarter and only three personal fouls and the team down 14 points -- as if
this were a regular season game in December instead of Game One of a playoff
Drew continued to keep his best defender and rebounder on the bench despite being
down and needing defense and easier baskets inside. As the fourth quarter began,
Horford had played only 22 minutes to that point. To play him the entire quarter
would have meant at total of 34 minutes. Still, Drew kept Horford seated with his
seat belt securely fastened and his tray table in the upright position until there was
six and a half minutes left in the game.
The game was lost...CONTINUE READING AT PEACHTREE HOOPS
Ball Don’t Lie: Kelly Dwyer: Pacers grab series lead as Paul George notches a triple-double
Just three years removed from the since-vetted scout hype that labeled him as perhaps
the finest product in the 2010 NBA draft, Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George used his
significant all-around gifts to lead his squad to a 1-0 advantage in his team’s first-round
series with the Atlanta Hawks. The Pacer swingman notched a triple-double (23 points,
11 rebounds and 12 assists) in the 107-90 Game 1 win, Indiana’s first postseason trip-
dub since current Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson notched one nearly 15
years ago, while providing the needed spark in an odd game that Atlanta just didn’t
seem up for.
The Pacers struggle offensively, ranking 20th out of 30 NBA teams in offensive efficiency
during the regular season (the second-lowest mark amongst the 16 playoff squads), but
Atlanta’s defense allowed quick hits and good positioning in both the first and third
quarters as the Pacers compiled a surprising 60 points during that combined turn. The
Hawks also were a step slow on their rotations, leading to a series of hacks around the
basket that allowed Indiana to take 34 free throws in the win, a huge boon to a Pacer
team that struggles to top 80 points on some nights.
Worst of all was the malaise that the Hawks seemed to be working through. Larry
Drew’s team did well to start with an inside-out attack early on, a surprising sight
considering that Atlanta started two point guards in Jeff Teague and Devin Harris, but by
the second half the Hawks just weren’t up to trying to counter Indiana’s significant
And nothing typified this more than George’s play, when Indiana’s actual plays broke
Pacer scoring swingman Danny Granger’s absence remains an under-reported story in
this postseason, mainly because George doesn’t really offer the same sort of production
that Granger came through with for years. PG just doesn’t work as an easily identifiable
replacement, which could be a blessing in disguise for both players, considering their
differences. Paul George is an athlete, and Danny Granger tends to take what the
defense gives him. George is an iffy shooter from the field, while Granger often looks
smooth as silk from long range. Granger turned the ball over once a month, while
George turned it over on 15 percent of the possessions he used this regular season.
George is a brilliant defender...CONTINUE READING AT BALL DON'T LIE
Grantland: Zach Lowe: Playoffs Winners and Losers - The First 3 Days
After an all-chalk weekend, we look at the rise of Paul George, the importance of
shooters, and Chris Paul's clutch play
We're 10 games into the NBA playoffs, and home teams are already 9-1. There's still
plenty of time for drama, with six teams trying to tie their series at 1-1 and the feisty
Grizzlies heading home with a real chance to get back into things against the Clippers.
Let's pause, step back, and take a look at the early winners and losers from the first
three days of the NBA's postseason.
Winner: Paul George, Modern Superstar
George is growing into the kind of star who can thrive in a league of smarter defenses
that clog the lane and make it difficult for any player, even a superstar, to hold the
ball up top and go one-on-one to the rim — or even to get there via a slow-developing
pick-and-roll. George minimizes his dribbles, choosing instead to fly off one screen,
catch the ball up high, and then take one dribble directly into another screen for a fast-
moving pick-and-roll. He can post up, survey the encroaching defense, and make the
He rarely forces the issue off the dribble, in part because he tried to do so early in the
season and found himself coughing up a heap of turnovers while attempting to navigate
defenses loading up against his dribble penetration. About a month into the season,
Frank Vogel placed a blanket prohibition on George trying to split defenders, Dwyane
Wade–style, on the pick-and-roll, and then worked hard to vary the way George got
A national audience got to see George's maturity in full bloom on Sunday. He attacked
judiciously, even against an overmatched defender in Kyle Korver, catching the ball on
the move for quick-hitting pick-and-rolls and going one-on-one only when the defense
wasn't quite prepared...CONTINUE READING AT GRANTLAND