The Bulls took care of business against the Wizards last night (while the Hawks sat their best players last night against the Knicks and lost), so Chicago earned the five seed and the right to face the Nets in the first round. Thus, Pacers/Hawks: the matchup tens of people can’t wait to see.
I kid, of course. Pacers fans likely got the matchup they wanted, avoiding the a Bulls team that, as one fan tweeted at me yesterday, could have turned The Fieldhouse into United Center South.
As you can see in the screen shot above from ESPN’s series webpage, everyone — this writer included — likes the Pacers to win. Atlanta is a fine team, but Indiana is better. And the Pacers’ defense should be able to limit those things that the Hawks do best.
With the way Frank Vogel’s boys have been getting smoked in first halves lately, it might go six games. But I would be surprised if it goes seven. And I would be absolutely shocked if the Hawks manage an upset.
Pacers have home court advantage so the first two games will be in Indiana, as will games five and seven if necessary.
First Round Schedule (all times ET)
Game 1: @Indiana, Sunday 4/22, 1:00 pm (TNT)
Game 2: @Indiana, Wednesday 4/24, 7:30 pm (NBA TV)
Game 3: @Atlanta, Saturday 4/27, 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Game 4: @Atlanta, Monday 4/29, TBD
Game 5: @Indiana, Wednesday 5/1, TBD (if necessary)
Game 6: @Atlanta, Friday 5/3, TBD (if necessary)
Game 7: @Indiana, Sunday 5/5, TBD (if necessary)