RECAP: Hawks 101, Pacers 93

Buddy Grizzard —  April 20, 2014 — 1 Comment

Hawks lead series, 1-0

IND(0-1) 93 – 101 (1-0)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 28 pts, 5 ast, 3 reb
P. George (IND): 24 pts, 10 reb, 5 ast

The Atlanta Hawks shocked the world Saturday night, defeating the Indiana Pacers to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference 1st round series and seize home court advantage. However, they did not shock certain bloggers who have watched the Pacers struggle for months. Indiana shows no signs of fixing its chemistry and continuity issues. The Hawks took advantage by executing the game plan everybody knew they would follow, spreading the floor with 3-point shooters and unleashing Jeff Teague on the Pacers’ weakened interior.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: Jeff Teague has accepted his role, which is that of floor leader and offensive focal point. He doesn’t have to be a vocal leader or rah-rah guy in the locker room. The Hawks need him to lead with his actions on the court. Tonight, we saw Teague embrace that role and the results were simply stunning. Typical of Teague’s confidence throughout the game was this play, where he broke Evan Turner’s ankles with a crossover and calmly hit a step-back three. Teague also showed killer instinct, never letting off the gas until the job was finished. In scoring a career playoff-high 28 points with five assists, Teague was everything we knew he could be. 10/10

Paul Millsap: In my playoff preview, I talked about the Bad Boys 30-for-30 and discussed how Mark Aguirre sacrificed his offense while Dennis Rodman was thrust into a larger role than he was prepared for. Millsap, like Teague, has been asked to take on more responsibilities in the absence of Al Horford. Like Teague, Millsap has risen to the occasion. After being held to single digits by the Pacers on three occasions this season, Millsap went off for 25 points and 8 rebounds. Millsap is the sort of teammate that you have no doubt would sacrifice as Aguirre did if his team needed it. The Hawks needed the opposite, and Millsap brought it. 10/10

Kyle Korver: Also in the 5-on-5 preview, I discussed how important the Korver-Lance Stephenson match-up was. Stephenson scored 19 with seven rebounds while Korver scored only 12 with five rebounds. But Korver was plus-12 for the game while Stephenson was minus-8. Even though Korver shot only 5-for-12, including 2-for-7 on threes, his ever-present threat helped stretch the defense and open up the middle for Teague. On defense, Korver pulled his weight. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: It’s hard to comprehend how undervalued Carroll was by the Utah Jazz before coming to the Hawks. Carroll was a game-best plus-15, scoring 12 points on four shots and adding 10 rebounds. His defensive assignment Paul George led the Pacers in every category, scoring 24 points with 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks. But Carroll made his presence felt, even flashing an escape dribble to create space for a jumper over George’s tight defense. 9/10

Pero Antic: The biggest concern for the Hawks heading into the game was, what if Pero has an off night shooting the ball? The Hawks were relying on Antic to draw Roy Hibbert away from the basket and he delivered, scoring eight points with seven rebounds on 3-for-7 shooting, including 2-for-5 from 3-point range. In the 3rd period, David West took exception to a foul and got in Antic’s face. Just like during the regular season when Carmelo Anthony jawed at Carroll, the Hawks used it as inspiration. Atlanta closed the 3rd on a 20-8 run and Indiana was never able to recover. 7/10

Shelvin Mack: Mack had some shaky moments, including a foray along the baseline that concluded with a typical bad pass. But Mack was the most productive bench player in this game, scoring eight points with three assists on 3-for-7 shooting in 14 minutes. Mack also capped a decisive 7-2 4th quarter run with a 3-pointer to push the lead to 87-70 after the Pacers drew within 12. 7/10

Elton Brand: Brand went scoreless but pulled down five rebounds and recorded three huge blocks in 20 minutes. He played the most minutes among the reserves, allowing Antic to play the fewest minutes among the starters. Brand continued his tradition as a Hawk by doing the dirty work under the basket and helping to frustrate and contain Indiana’s front line. 7/10

Lou Williams: Lou scored six points on three shots including a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. His defense was not great but he did enough on offense to contribute to the win. 6/10

Mike Scott: Scott scored only two points on two shots with one rebound in 12 minutes, but his plus-2 indicates that he did not hurt the Hawks defensively during his time on the floor. 6/10

Cartier Martin: Played only four minutes and was on the floor for a stretch spanning the 1st and 2nd quarters during which Mike Budenholzer played five reserves at the same time. The Pacers rattled off a 13-6 run against this lineup and Budenholzer made sure to keep at least one starter on the court the rest of the way. Incomplete

Coach Budenholzer: In my time covering the Hawks for the ESPN TrueHoop Network, I have not been accustomed to the phenomenon of a Hawks coach learning from his mistakes. During the regular season I would gnash my teeth whenever an opponent rattled off a run against a lineup of Hawks reserves. After the all-reserve lineup helped the Pacers stay close in the 1st half, Budenholzer did not repeat the mistake. Aside from that, Bud’s game plan was executed flawlessly. 10/10

The opposition: You’re going to read a lot about the Pacers’ chemistry issues over the next two days. Many will question Frank Vogel’s coaching acumen and the efficacy of personnel moves Larry Bird made for the Pacers this year. I hope I may be forgiven for pointing out that none of this is news to us here at HawksHoop. 0/10


Next: Game Two at Indiana, Tuesday, April 22nd at 7:00 PM EDT

Buddy Grizzard


One response to RECAP: Hawks 101, Pacers 93

  1. Good not great win. Hawks didnt shoot all that well, plus we gave up way to many drives.

    I hope the hawks save there best games for 2,3, and 6. If we win game 2 we can crush their spirits. No need to get blown out in game 2 and give them confidence.

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