PLUCK THE HAWKS
Game Time Start: 7:30 PM ET
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Officials: J. Crawford, T. Brown, J. Capers, J. Goble
Television: FOX Sports Indiana FOX Sports South
Radio: WFNI 1070 AM / WCNN 680 AM, 93.7 FM
Media Notes: Indiana Notes, Atlanta Notes
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Season Records: (W-L) 2 51-33
Upcoming Games: May 01 May 03 May 05 vs at vs TBD TBD TBD
Projected Starting Lineup: HIBBERT WEST GEORGE STEPHENSON HILL Projected Starting Lineup: PETRO HORFORD SMITH HARRIS TEAGUE
Danny Granger - left knee surgery (out)
Zaza Pachulia - sore right Achilles (out)
Lou Williams - torn ACL, right knee (out)
Perpetually Disappointing Trader Joe Minimally Relevant Video:
Eight Points Nine Seconds: Tim Donahue: The Pacers’ Ugly Side
There are a lot of things to like about Frank Vogel’s Pacers. Since the young coach took
over as head coach in 2011, Indiana has won 60% of their regular season game and
provided some playoff excitement. They’ve established a physical, defensive identity
for which the fans clamored.
But they have an ugly side, and it was on display last night.
That, right there, is the game – the meaningful part – in all its gory detail. For the first
2-1/2 minutes of the game, the Pacers looked sharp, hitting four of their six shots and
jumping out to an 8-1 lead. Then, the next 15-1/2 minutes happened.
From the 9:33 mark of the first quarter to just about the midway mark of the second,
the Atlanta Hawks outscored the Pacers 42-10 to -for all intents and purposes – win
game three of the first round series. How bad was it? The Hawks scored more points
off turnovers (11) than the Pacers scored off…well…anything (10) during the stretch.
Seasoned observers of the Pacers could probably see what was coming by sometime
around the middle of the first quarter. The game was still tied, but Indiana was
missing bunnies and looked completely lost offensively. By the end of a 27-14 1st
quarter, most Pacer fans had to know that they had seen this game before. There was
still the possibility that they’d reel the Hawks in before halftime, but I wasn’t expecting
This was another one of those games where the Pacers were expecting the other team
It has happened more than anyone would care to admit this season. Games against
Toronto, Charlotte, and Washington come to mind as examples. This phenomenon
manifested early – when the Pacers were banking on weak opponents to get them
through Danny’s injury. It manifested late – when they fell behind by at least 20 in
each of their final six games – and David West said, ” I thought we maybe let our
guard down, when we got back off that West Coast trip, and we were kind of reeling
And it manifested again...CONTINUE READING AT 8p9s
Peachtree Hoops: Robby Kalland: Big Lineup. Big Payoff. The Hawks steamroll the Pacers
The Hawks went with their big lineup for Game 3 and dominated the Pacers 90-69 to
earn their first victory of the series. Al Horford led the way for Atlanta with 26 points
and 16 rebounds.
The Hawks never took the Pacers to the point of even worry about the outcome of the
two games and now the series comes to Atlanta (Saturday, 7pm EST, ESPN) where the
series really begins.
Head coach Larry Drew decided to switch things up prior to Game 3 and started a big
lineup of Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Johan Petro. They got
out to a rocky start falling behind 8-1 two minutes into the game, but proceeded to go
on a 53-22 run to end the first half with a 24 point lead. By going big, Atlanta was able
to have Josh Smith guard Paul George. Smith's length forced George to be more of a
jump shooter, and George struggled to knock down his shots going 4-of-11 from the
field on his way to an inefficient 16 points and nine rebounds.
"I was just trying to get a body on him," said Smith. "Knowing and understanding that
he is the focal point of the offense on the perimeter and try to stay engaged [on him]
and try to be elusive as far as pindowns and pick-and-rolls are concerned. Basically
just keep a body on him, and that was pretty much the gameplan."
On the offensive end Smith had a big advantage on George in the post, and the Hawks
exploited that throughout the game. Smith had 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting, but he
forced help defenders to come over and was able to pass out of the double to create
looks for others with six assists.
Al Horford was the star of the game, recording playoff career highs with 26 points and
16 rebounds. Al credited playing more aggressive to the reason for the uptick in his
"I was just being aggressive, playing with a lot of energy," said Horford. "My
teammates did a good job time and time again of getting me easy baskets. They were
finding me whether it was off help or drive and kick. Defensively, I just wanted to set
the tone and be more aggressive. I go out there with that same mindset every game.
Tonight I had to step up and make some plays on the offensive end."
Horford started the game...CONTINUE READING AT PEACHTREE HOOPS
Hang Time Blog: Sekou Smith: Pacers Returning to Normal for Game 4?
The Sunday afternoon film session wasn’t necessary. The Indiana Pacers knew they’d
departed from normal in their Game 3 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in real-time, as they
were being pushed around the floor at Philips Arena.
The film session only reinforced what they already knew, what everyone watching knew
by halftime of Game 3; the Pacers let the Hawks off the mat and fumbled their chance
to put a stranglehold on this series.
The Hawks had plenty do with it, of course. They came home and used some timely
adjustments and some home-crowd energy to get back into the series. But the Pacers
were awful generous for a team that has designs on a deep playoff run. They offered
little resistance once the Hawks opened up a big lead, trailing by as many as 28 points
after halftime and never getting closer than 18.
Again, you don’t need a film session to know that you’ll be receiving two thumbs down
for a performance like that.
“It would have been understandable if we tried to do the things that we do and they just
took us out of it,” Pacers All-Star swingman Paul George said. “We created all the
mistakes. We didn’t come in ready to play. And the tape told it all. We did it. We didn’t
come out ready to play.”
For a team that crawls into the playoffs that might be an acceptable excuse. But not for
the No. 3 seed. Not with a 2-0 lead in the series and nothing but opportunity ahead of
them. That’s what makes tonight’s Game 4 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV) so unbelievably
crucial for a Pacers team that has failed in 12 straight tries to win in Atlanta.
They cannot afford to “give” the Hawks any more life if they expect things to go as
planned. George cannot allow Josh Smith to bottle him up in Game 4 the way he did in
Game 3. Roy Hibbert has to chase away whatever Atlanta demons have plagued him
over the years and dominate in the paint. David West, the Pacers’ leader and emotional
backbone, cannot allow himself to get caught up in the swirl of foolishness that he did,
throwing Al Horford to the ground and earning a Flagrant 1 foul before halftime. And the
Pacers cannot be as careless with the basketball tonight as they were Saturday night,
when plenty of their 22 turnovers helped fuel a 42-10 Hawks first half run that decided
“That was probably the most disappointing thing, watching the video,” West said of all
the unnecessary miscues. “Just being out of sync, not putting the ball where guys
wanted the ball, the simple careless stuff. Again, stuff that we’re not going to overreact
to that stuff, but we do know it’s of the utmost importance that we take care of the
basketball if we want to win this series.”
The Hawks (14.3) and Pacers (14.5) ranked 21st and 22nd, respectively, in turnovers
during the regular season. So for the Pacers to be as careless as they were was
startling and even more pronounced...CONTINUE READING AT HANG TIME
Bleacher Report: Jared Wade: Clutch Statistics of 2013 NBA Playoffs' Go-To Scorers
The three-point shot was so irrelevant during its first year in the NBA that the Los Angeles
Lakers made just three shots from behind the arc on their way to a title in 1980. Rookie
Magic Johnson was their sharpshooter, making two of his eight long-range attempts during
his team's 16-game playoff run. Norm Nixon hit the other one, but he missed his five other
Yes, they won the title while playing 16 playoff games and making just three three-pointers.
That is fewer than one every five games. On the 82-game season, that Lakers team made
just 20-of-100 attempts from deep.
When Kobe Bryant ruptured his Achilles tendon, the NBA lost its most prolific clutch scorer
from the 2012-13 regular season.
In the final two minutes of close games (teams within five points of each other), nobody
had more than Bryant's 91 points. There is no player in the league more eager to take the
final shot—for better or worse—than Kobe.
In the end of games, there is little room for error. The difference between immortality and
going fishing can come down to one shot. Kevin Durant, who missed a potential game-tying
shot in Game 2 of last year's NBA Finals knows that all too well.
During the 2012-13 regular season, Durant was not himself at the end of games. He scored
a lot, but he didn't do so efficiently.
Ultimately, very few players shoot for a high percentage late in games. The opposing
defenses are simply too locked in and typically know who is going to take the final shots
down the stretch.
Along with Durant, the players listed below are the top playoff-bound clutch scorers. By
and large, they are the go-to players relied upon in close games.
If they can outperform their peers, their teams are likely to advance. And if any of them
can catch fire down the stretch—like Dirk Nowitzki did in 2011, hitting 9-of-13 shots in the
clutch—they might just have the honor of hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy come June.
Note: All stats and shot charts updated as of April 15 and courtesy of NBA.com.
10. George Hill, 51 Points
George Hill's 12-of-32 (37.5 percent) shooting from the field in the clutch this season
hasn't been great, particularly since it has been so skewed by his awful 3-of-12 (25
percent) shooting from behind the arc.
While he definitely needs to work on his long-range accuracy in the postseason, Hill's 24-
of-36 (66.7 percent) shooting from the free-throw line in the clutch this season has been
atrocious. We're talking about a career 80.9 percent shooter from the line and a player
who, until recently, was the Pacers' first option to take technical foul shots.
Indiana has team-wide efficiency problems when it comes to scoring, so the last thing
this team needs is one of its key end-of-game ball-handlers getting the yips during the
George Hill's 2012-13 regular season clutch shooting chart.
READ THE REST OF THE LIST AT BLEACHER REPORT