Indiana is just better than Atlanta. Not necessarily the cities (though probably) but the professional basketball teams in those places.
This was a strange game in many ways, but there was nothing odd about the outcome. When the Pacers playing really well, the Hawks just can’t hang. Atlanta has a few very good players. But they also have several below-mediocre guys who are getting minutes. Unless something exceptional happens, they will continue to have trouble winning.
Unfortunately for them, there was too much normalcy tonight, and the outlier plays for the positive were mostly on the Pacers’ side of the ledger. There was the Roy Hibbert dunk. The Roy Hibbert three (that didn’t end up counting). The Gerald Green dunk. The other, football-route-catch Gerald Green dunk to end the third quarter. And there was D.J. Augustin hitting back-to-back threes.
Too much Indiana, even with Lance Stephenson heading to the locker room for a while after a hard landing gave him a hip bruise (following a bad call that claims he committed a charging violation). And too much Georges. Paul and Hill were both marvelous.
Indiana is outhustling the Hawks, and the team’s execution (especially in plays directly following a timeout, a credit to Pacer coach Frank Vogel) is clearly superior. The Pacers won’t be able to bottle the 220 points they scored in the first two games of this series to use later, but they know damn sure how to get to those digits.
In short, the Hawks can’t hang with a well-executing Pacers team.
Things may change in Atlanta. Home court can do that. Indiana aint great on the road. It’s also just tough to beat a good team three times in a row. Are the Hawks a good team? Probably. No better than that. But probably good.
Still, it’s looking a lot like the Pacers should be able to win one of the next two games in Atlanta and have little trouble closing this one out in five or six games.
As we expected.
|David West, PF 20 MIN | 1-4 FG | 5-7 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +3 |
Non-factor on offense.
|Paul George, SF 39 MIN | 11-21 FG | 4-7 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 27 PTS | +24 |
No triple double this time, but still the best player in the series thus far. Got it done, dropping near 30 for a team that will often need him to do just that.
|Roy Hibbert, C 31 MIN | 5-10 FG | 5-5 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +18 |
Ivan Johnson will be survived by Anthony Mason, under-used hair clippers and that guy who runs the grill shop where he bought his fronts.
|George Hill, PG 32 MIN | 7-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +23 |
Making shots, taking names.
|Lance Stephenson, SG 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +2 |
Didn’t play much after falling hard on a drive and bruising his hip. Could be a lingering issue for a while.
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-4 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +23 |
If he plays this way all playoffs, the Pacers ceiling rises.
|Jeff Pendergraph, PF 15 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +2 |
Didn’t like what he brought to the game tonight.
|Sam Young, SF 8 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -9 |
Some nice minutes. A wonderful steal.
|Gerald Green, SF 27 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +11 |
His approach to the game is often off-putting to watch, but he made shots tonight. And that dunk. Oh my, that dunk.
|Ian Mahinmi, C 3 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8 |
|Ben Hansbrough, PG 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8 |
|D.J. Augustin, PG 17 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +2 |
Hit back-to-back threes. They were big for a bench run that was sorta shaky but able to match Atlanta through shot-making.
|Orlando Johnson, SG 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8 |