Game #9 Preview: Hawks Fly Into Town

Atlanta Hawks @ Indiana Pacers
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
7:00 pm EST
Conseco Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, Indiana

Hawk

The Hawks franchise been on a steady climb for years. In 2005-06, they won a paltry 26 games but have won 30, 37, 47 and 53 games in the following four years. They did it mostly through the Draft as well, with the one major exception being that they cleared enough cap room to lure Joe Johnson to the ATL and away from a wonderful situation in Phoenix with Steve Nash.

In many ways, the Pacers are looking at a team they want to emulate. In a few seasons, the Pacers will hopefully be looking back on win totals in the 30s and seeing the experience gained by young players during those seasons as the foundation of success.

In November 2010, however, the Pacers don’t want to look at or play these Hawks considering that Atlanta has won the six previous meetings between these two teams

Fortunately, the Hawks are scuffling right now.

They started the year going 6-0. Then they lost four straight (including three at home). A relatively easy win over Minnesota got them off the schnide on Monday and they are likely looking at Indiana as another team they can cast off to get back to their winning ways.

We will see if the Pacers can do anything about that. One big positive for Indy is that they played excellent defense in the last half of basketball they played, impressively holding Cleveland to just 27.8% shooting in the final two quarters.

Given that Atlanta is the best shooting team in NBA thus far (at a torrid 49.3%), that will be a key to the game. Another area of focus for Indiana should be the offensive glass. The Hawks are only the 20th best defensive rebounding squad in the league, so there should be second-chance opportunities. Lastly, the Pacers need to keep the fouls in check. Atlanta isn’t a good free-throw shooting team (only 74.4% this year so far), but they get there more often than all but four other units.

These guys are athletic and offensively gifted enough to score easily even when the defense is set. The Pacers don’t need to be offering charity on top of that.

Pacers vs. Hawks – By the Numbers

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