Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks: Playoffs Preview / Prediction

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Image Courtesy of the IndIana Pacers

Image Courtesy of the Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and will subsequently enjoy home-court advantage throughout the NBA Playoffs. During the regular season, the Atlanta Hawks split the series 2-2 versus the Pacers, losing one of the games on their home court then defeating the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN earlier this month. The Hawks will face a tough and sizable Indiana Pacers lineup and I expect this series to go at least five-six games.

Playoffs Schedule

AprilOpponentTimeLocal TVNat TVRadio
Sat 19vs Atlanta Playoffs  Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN7:00 PMESPN1070 The Fan
Tue 22vs Atlanta Playoffs  Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN7:00 PMTNT1070 The Fan
Thu 24@ Atlanta PlayoffsPhilips Arena, Atlanta, GA7:00 PMFSINBATV1070 The Fan
Sat 26@ Atlanta PlayoffsPhilips Arena, Atlanta, GA
2:00 PMTNT1070 The Fan
Mon 28vs Atlanta Playoffs  Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN8:00 PMNBATV1070 The Fan
MayOpponentTimeLocal TVNat TVRadio
Thu 1@ Atlanta PlayoffsPhilips Arena, Atlanta, GATBD1070 The Fan
Sat 3vs Atlanta Playoffs  Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, INTBDTNT1070 The Fan

Key players this series:

I think this series will be decided by players at the guard and forward position. Lance Stephenson will have to be aggressive and avoid foul trouble, otherwise the Pacers could find themselves in trouble defending guards at the perimeter. Jeff Teague could create problems for the Pacers with his speed and ability to penetrate to the basket while  Paul Millsap and David West will definitely battle at the forward position.  I believe West is a tougher player, but Millsap may have a slight edge on the offensive end of the floor. Luis Scola could play extensive minutes in this series, I think the Pacers will need the spark he provides coming off the bench in order to close this series out quickly.


Keys to winning the series:

HawksThe Hawks have to be aggressive, attack the rim, and Kyle Korver has to step up and make perimeter shots – he will more than likely see a lot of opportunities due to Jeff Teague‘s ability to collapse the defense resulting in the open man.


Indiana Pacers logoHead coach Frank Vogel will have to find the right match-up against this team. The Hawks are not a sizable team but they have speed and outside shooting that can make life very difficult for the Pacers. Defensively the Pacers could go with a man-to-man defense and throw David West and Luis Scola at Paul Millsap to slow him down. Lance Stephenson could exploit the undersized Teague by taking him down low in the post area which could lead to easy buckets or forcing Teague to foul – placing him on the bench early.


Series Prediction:

Pacers 4-2

The Pacers will win this series in six games if not less. The Hawks are a descent team but lets face it, they won an abysmal 38 games this season. On the other hand, the Pacers have experienced turmoil among some of their key players. Pacers center Roy Hibbert took a few verbal shots at teammate Paul George, and during the final 10 games of the season the Pacers finished with a lackluster 4-6 record. For the Atlanta Hawks this could be the perfect time to strike a vulnerable team.

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