13 game losing streak in Atlanta is on the line tonight for the Indiana Pacers. Chance to move on to the second round, and don’t have to deal with game seven is on the line for the Indiana Pacers. Getting that shot of exposure on ESPN 2 for the nation to see what the Pacers are all about is on the line for the team. Plenty of story lines going into tonight’s game even as people aren’t thrilled about the series. But Indiana should chant something to themselves as they prepare for tonight’s game “There’s no place like Atlanta. There’s no place like Atlanta. There’s no place like Atlanta.” Then click their heels three times, and they’ll end up back in Indy ready for the next round. That’s what I expect to happen this evening. The Pacers treat the Hawks to another double digit beat down, and we can move on to what lies ahead.
What needs to happen to ensure no game seven? The Pacers need to pick up their defense from where it was in the second half of the last game. They held the Hawks to 16 points in that fourth quarter, and had them waving the white flag with five minutes left in the game as they brought in the bench. I think that third quarter Atlanta gave up as it was a technical filled, foul filled, fun affair. It’s all about the mental game with both of these teams. We saw how well the Pacers have looked at home, and how much energy there was going in the right direction. Then we see the Hawks get that same boost of energy as they beat down the Pacers in games three and four. Who knows what to REALLY expect this evening?
What to expect? How about a great game from Paul George? This could be a breakout night for George as a chance to show that he can lead a team to a close out victory. With his numbers of 20 and 10, that would be ideal for the Pacers to have a great show for this game. He has to slow down Josh Smith as well, who looked like he wanted no part of game five. Get Smith in that mood tonight, and it should be an easy victory for the Pacers.
What’s my prediction? Well, I’m not a betting man, but hey, I’m a Pacers man, so let’s lay it all out on the table. If the Pacers have bottled up that formula that worked at home, then this is a double digit victory, and we’re talking what they can do the next round. That’s my prediction, and I’m sticking to it.