I was looking over this series between the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers to see that the Hawks have the Pacers number on most occassions. But why is that? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? At one point, the Hawks had won 9 straight times over the Pacers. Even going into this season, they had won four straight games. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out what’s up with the teams. I could see the Hawks being a bit more athletic than the Pacers, so they can get up and down more. Luckily, the Pacers did break through in one game this season, and have a chance to even the season series.
To me, that’s going to be huge as I don’t think the Pacers would want to play the Hawks in a series, so they need to get up into second place. Hopefully the Hawks wouldn’t drop to seventh. Right now, the Hawks are in fifth place. Even then, they have a chance to move up if the Nets have a slump. A win tonight would be even bigger when you consider the Pacers will be without David West for another game, hopefully he can get his injury all fixed up as he’s greatly needed for the team.
Tonight, the Hawks could really take advantage of that, if Tyler Hansbrough doesn’t play as well as he has. But to his credit, Hansbrough has come up big. Even in the loss against the Bulls, he was doing everything he could to help the team. He brings that energy, and really was active around the glass for rebounds. He even looks to be getting that confidence back in his jump shot. If he can improve upon that, it will be even better for the bench when West comes back.
I would look for the usual suspects of Paul George and even George Hill to really step up tonight. If the Pacers want to win and go somewhere, those guys have to play big. We all know George has been as good as ever in the past season. I would want Hill to be a bit more aggressive this time around. When he gets his shot going, good things happen for the Pacers.
Tonight won’t be an easy game, but playing at home, where the Pacers have a better sense about themselves is key. Plus, they’ll be heading out west for four games later this week, so it’s key to pick up that first victory leading into that. Remember 8 is the magic number for the Pacers. Any combination of Pacer wins and Bulls losses that equal eight would equal the division crown for the Pacers. The first one in almost a decade. Time to step up and take the throne.