Are the Pacers who we thought they were?
Game 1 would suggest no. But they reintroduced themselves to us in Game 2.
The Biggest 3 questions this game will be:
1) Who will dominate the post?
When fully healthy and playing at peak potential, Indiana has one of the most formidable front courts in the NBA in Roy Hibbert, David West, and Luis Scola and Ian Mahinmi off the bench. Atlanta’s Paul Millsap is a stud, but definitely has his hands full down low. Can Indiana dominate the paint on both sides of the ball like they’ve shown they can?
2) Who will win the Free Throw Battle?
In Game 1, Atlanta made 24 of 29 free throws to Indiana’s 16 of 23. In Game 2, Indiana made 21 of 27 free throws to Atlanta’s 13 of 18. The winner of the free throw battle has won each game. Who’s going assert themselves and win that battle tonight? That’ll be your winner.
3) Who can move the ball?
Assists have come few and far between so far this series, but in Game 2, Indiana racked up 25 as a team. Moving the ball is key to controlling pace and assists are a large part of that. Whichever team can control their pace by moving the ball around most efficiently will have greater success.
My two players to watch:
ATL – Jeff Teague
Atlanta is coming home and needs to have a strong stand on their homecourt. Expect Jeff Teague to try to match his Game 1 effort.
IND – Lance Stephenson
Paul George has been the focal point for Indiana thus far, as he should be, to his credit. However, Stephenson’s ability to unload some of George’s offensive responsibility will be key on the road. It should be a tough crowd, especially since Atlanta pulled off the Game 1 upset, so the fans will be fueled with hope. Stephenson has that crowd-silencing killer instinct that Indiana needs in this first road game.