Indiana Pacers (2-2)
Atlanta Hawks (1-1)
Well now that word is out on Danny Granger’s injury, the Pacers can move along and focus on improving with the players that are available. Tonight’s game can also serve as moving out from that bad loss and not so good effort Monday night against a tough San Antonio Spurs team. Tonight’s game against the Atlanta Hawks won’t be a cake walk, but a win would do something for this team as they’re still finding their way through this early part of the season.
Looking at this match up, I knew things would be tough for the Pacers as the Hawks just always seem to play the Pacers hard. They have some athletic players and match up well against the Pacers. Perhaps the best battle to watch will be the one between Roy Hibbert and Al Horford. There’s some small history between these two guys as last season Hibbert made block on Horford that resulted in Horford hurting himself and missing some games. Hibbert will need to up his average of 8.8 points per game, and possibly get in the 13-18 points tonight for the Pacers to really have a shot in this one.
Another area the Pacers can look to is their rebounding. This is an area, where the Pacers struggled at times last season, but seem to all be doing their part this season. Paul George has upped his career high to 17 rebounds already in a game last week. David West seems to always have a hand on a rebound. Hibbert is another excellent rebounder. If the team continues to miss shots like they have, they will have to rebound and defend even better. Defense is a calling card for this team, and everyone needs to do their part tonight.
A Pacers win tonight can serve some purpose as being without Granger, who has such a high scoring average against the Hawks, could show that they are getting things in the right direction. Not just a late win in the fourth quarter, but putting away the Hawks. Who knows if that can happen as I feel until the line ups are set for this team, games like Toronto last week and Sacramento at home will be the way these games go. All players on deck for the Pacers need to come together and start showing the Eastern Conference they mean business. Tonight would be an excellent step in that direction.