The Indiana Pacers were coming off a huge win about a week ago when they destroyed the Denver Nuggets. We all know the story as Indy made all of their shots but one in the third quarter, going 20-of-21, and bursting out for 52 points in that quarter to shock the Nuggets, 144-113.
However, Indiana would get shocked themselves, losing to the struggling Houston Rockets, 102-99. It was a disappointing game and it brought questions to people of what team Indiana really is.
Many question marks would rise as people wouldn’t be all that in for the Pacers to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. But they did, and killed them. Danny Granger scored 34 points in the team’s 99-85 victory to reach back to a .500 record.
Now Indiana looks to go above and beyond that as they have their next few games at home. Today, they start off with the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks are 7-4. Atlanta started off with a undefeated record but went on a losing-streak. But since then, they have improved and they look to give the Pacers a run for their money.
The Hawks biggest struggle has been completing games. Whenever up by 15 points or more, the Hawks struggle and go down to shooting 35-percent overall. Then their opponents would shoot 49-percent. Atlanta hasn’t been finishing games, which leads them to their 1-4 record in their past five games.
“We had ample opportunities to create separation but we made some bad plays and made some bad decisions,” coach Larry Drew said. “It’s not a time to panic. It’s an area I will continue to pay attention to every single day.”
The Hawks are currently 5-1 on the road but Indiana has done it’s best at home and it’s going to be tough for them to beat Indy. AccuScore’s simulation of the game predicts that the Pacers have a 57-percent chance to win the match-up compared to Atlanta’s 43-percent.
Indy has been playing solid defense so far, limiting the Cavs to 27.8% shooting and only 31 points in the second half of the game.
“It was really good defense in the second half and a good bounce back win,” coach Jim O’Brien said. “Our wings, Michael (Dunleavy) and Danny (Granger) were terrific.”
Dunleavy had 20 points in the game. Indiana is now 3-0 when having 20 or more assists in a game.
“When we are able to move the ball and we share, we’re hard to guard,” Dunleavy said. “Hopefully we can keep that up.”
They need to, in order for complete success.
The key match-up in the game is Roy Hibbert versus Al Horford. That is going to be a very good match-up as both guys will be clawing at each other, fighting for tough rebounds. This is easily the match-up to watch.
Mike Dunleavy will need to man-up well, though, on Joe Johnson. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jim O’Brien will sometimes but Granger on him if he starts firing.
Darren Collison will be facing a veteran point guard in Mike Bibby, so it’s not going to be easy. But that is going to be a good match-up as well.
As for Josh McRoberts and Tyler Hansbrough, stopping Josh Smith is the their number one priority in order for success.
I see a win for Indy as they improve to 5-4. Come on Pacers!