Atlanta Hawks (25-26) at Indiana Pacers (40-12)
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Tip: 7:00 p.m. EST
TV: Check local listings
Line: IND -10.0
Another game, another favorable Vegas line for the Indiana Pacers. In their first game after the NBA All-Star Weekend, Indiana hosts the Atlanta Hawks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Atlanta is struggling and in a very difficult situation, to say the least. They have dropped below the .500 mark due to a 5-game losing streak and a 3-7 record in their last 10 games. The Hawks are also dealing with numerous injuries, most notably in the post.
Starting center Al Horford is out for the season after tearing a pectoral muscle. Reserve forward Pero Antic, who torched the Pacers earlier in the season during a Hawks win, is out with a stress fracture in his ankle. Guard John Jenkins is also unavailable with an injury – thus, three key players will not be in uniform tonight against the Indiana Pacers.
Meanwhile, Indiana is fully healthy, aside from newly acquired center Andrew Bynum. Bynum is expected to play in a couple weeks, but is still conditioning and and learning the team’s system.
Paul George, Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers’ coaching staff returned from New Orleans on Sunday night for practice on Monday. Frank Vogel said it was refreshing to return home and “be able to get mad at bad defense.”
Vogel coached the Eastern Conference All-Star squad in Sunday’s game in the Big Easy, in which no defense was on display en route to a 163-155 East victory.
Back to reality tonight for the Pacers, as they need a win to start the second half of the season. Vogel mentioned it is time to focus and regain the mentality they started the season with, when Indiana began 9-0 and won 16 of its first 17 games.
Vogel also stated his players have “bought in” to the mentality and are focused on obtaining the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. That starts against the Hawks tonight, and begins with slowing fellow All-Star Paul Millsap and guard Jeff Teague.
Millsap and Teague lead the way for Atlanta, with Kyle Korver acting as a three-point threat. However, with injuries to key guys, the Hawks don’t come off as a threat, especially with Indiana playing at home.
Indiana Pacers win 100-87.