WAITING TO PANIC?
Game Time Start: 8:00 PM ET
Where: The Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Officials: M. McCutchen, D. Collins, B. Salvatore, J. Tiven
Television: FOX Sports Indiana FOX Sports South
Radio: WFNI 1070 AM / WCNN 680 AM, 93.7 FM
Media Notes: Indiana Notes, Atlanta Notes
NBA Feeds: NBA Audio League Pass (available free to NBA All-Access members)
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Season Records: (W-L) 2 51-34
Upcoming Games: May 03 May 05 at vs 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: Jared Wade: Pacers’ Road Struggles Hopefully Won’t Cost Them Series
Despite the evidence to the contrary over the past two games, I still expect Indiana to
win this series. I know, I know. There are certainly multiple reasons for Pacers’ fans to
But Paul George probably summed it up best when asked about Indiana’s struggles
away from home after Game 4: “It’s night and day. And it shouldn’t be like that.”
He is right about two things: If definitely shouldn’t be like that. It’s sad really, and it
starts with George himself. He, like the whole team, has been night and day at home
and on the road this year.
On the one hand, he’s a young player.
On the other, he’s a three-year vet who has started 164 regular season games, now
appeared in 20 playoff games and played in one All-Star Game — during which he
scored 17 points. LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony were the only
three players to take more shots than George did in that midseason exhibition.
You would think such a career stepping stone would help eradicate any trepidation
about playing anywhere. But so far in this postseason, George has been — let’s be
kind and say — “not good” away from home.
He was magnificent in Games 1 and 2, starting the postseason off by living at the line
and recording a triple double. Grown-man All-Star stuff. Then, in the second game at
The Fieldhouse, he hit 10-of-17 shots inside the arc. If he had not missed three free
throws, he would have had a 30-point game. Beast.
When it comes to first-time All-Stars debuting in the playoffs, George was DMX:
dropping two classics in rapid succession right out the gate.
Then, on a plane ride to Atlanta, he seemingly lost all his powers — like Dark Man X
minus the white lines.
A less esoteric metaphor: It’s like he’s a superhero called Indiana Man, capable of
leaping large buildings and decimating foes of any strength — but he loses all his
otherworldly powers when he crosses state lines.
It’s a problem.
But, really, his struggles are just a microcosm for how badly the whole team played
in Atlanta. George Hill’s lines in Games 3 and 4 were much, much worse. He scored
15 points in two games on 5-for-23 (21.7%) shooting, including 0-for-9 (you do the
math) from behind the arc. Lance Stephenson was equally terrible (1-for-7 shooting)
in Game 3 while David West uncharacteristically spent half the game being more
upset at the...CONTINUE READING AT 8p9s
Peachtree Hoops: Kris Willis: Hawks' defense smothers Pacers in Atlanta
The Atlanta Hawks held serve at home, now they have a chance to seize control of
Mission accomplished for the Atlanta Hawks as they successfully hold serve at home
against the Pacers and send the series back to Indiana for Game 5 tied at 2-2. Many
pundits predicted this would be a short series but they clearly overlooked Atlanta's
recent dominance over the Pacers at home. The Hawks have now defeated Indiana 13
straight times at Philips Arena dating back to 2006.
Indiana was a below .500 team on the road this season but the Hawks were able to
flip the script thanks to their improved defensive play. Indiana made 46 percent of
their field goal attempts combined in Games 1 & 2 and saw that percentage plummet
to just 33 percent in Games 3 & 4. That stat is no doubt skewed slightly by the Pacers'
27 percent shooting performance in Game 3.
Taking it a step further Indiana made 65 percent of their shots at the rim in Game 1
going 22-34. Game 2 was a similar story as they connected on 57 percent going 20-35.
Atlanta adjusted for Game 3 holding the Pacers to 46 percent shooting at the rim on
28 attempts. Indiana was able to get to the basket more in Game 4 but still only
converted 48 percent of the time. So if Atlanta is to carry anything on the road with
them in Game 5 it is that they need to continue to contest the Pacers inside at the rim
and turn them primarily into a jump shooting team.
The Hawks found something when they turned to Josh Smith to guard Paul George and
they were able to slow him down considerably after his performance in Games 1 & 2.
George averaged 25 points a game over the first two in Indianapolis and converted at
the rim 9-12 times. When he wasn't converting at the rim he was getting to the free
throw line where he was 21-25 over the first two games.
In Atlanta with Smith primarily...CONTINUE READING AT PEACHTREE HOOPS
Eye On Basketball Blog: Matt Moore: Hawks know Josh Smith shouldn't take jumpers, but that's life
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.
If you want to see something really funny, watch a Hawks home game and wait for
that moment when Josh Smith catches the ball on the perimeter and hesitates. The
minute that he looks at the rim, the entire arena, or at least the percentage of Hawks
fans there (which often isn't very high), will produce this murmur of discontent, as if
to say, "Josh, don't shoot that."
Then, when Smith gets later in the shot clock and it becomes evident he's taking that
mid-range jumper or 3, a loud and audible "Noooooo!" can be heard. It's about the
shot itself, where Smith is never great from. It's his biggest weakness and what keeps
him from being a truly great player. And, apparently, the Hawks are aware as well.
To set the scene, here's Smith's shot chart from Game 1.
And that's a good game. Four-of-11 from mid-range and beyond is a "good" game for
Smith. Here's a quote from Al Horford after the game via NBA.com:
“This was definitely one of those ‘ooh, aah' moments with Josh,” Al Horford
said. “He gives you those ‘oohs' and then those ‘aahs.' It's kind of a ‘Yes'
and then ‘No' thing going on. That's the way it is. I think [the fans]
obviously want Josh to be successful. Everybody loves him here.
Sometimes we do question his shot selection. But tonight he hit
some big shots down the stretch, made some huge plays for
other guys down the stretch and made plays to help us win this
game. I know it might drive some people a little crazy. But it
works for us and that's just the way it is.”
via Smith Fuels Hawks As They Pull Even With Pacers « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog.
When it works, it's great.
The problem is, so often...CONTINUE READING AT EYE ON BASKETBALL