Apr 24, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) reacts after being called for a foul against the Atlanta Hawks in the first quarter in game three of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers: Paul George left with more questions than answers as Hawks take 2-1 lead

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After Game 2, the Indiana Pacers had some of their dirty laundry released by the media.

Yahoo revealed what we all kind of already knew. It’s kind of like seeing a mouse at a restaurant we all love. We kind of know that they’re there, we just don’t need the visual.

Adrian Wojnarowski revealed the Pacers’ mouse shortly after Game 2. It was a fight that “reportedly” broke out on the eve of the Playoffs between Evan Turner and Lance Stephenson. Tension had been building, and it had finally erupted.

That was it.

We thought it was out, it was taken care of. The exterminator cleaned house, the Pacers re-opened. I mean, didn’t you see Game 2?

We moved on.

Then there was Game 3.

The Game 2 Pacers did not show up. But neither did the Game 1 Pacers, which was good. Ironically, it was one of those games in which the wrong team was making all the plays, getting all the breaks and hitting all the big shots.

This is supposed to be Indiana. They’re supposed to get all the calls, shots and breaks (here and there) because they’re supposed to win the series. They’re supposed to face the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals. They’re supposed to break up the Big Three.

In Game 3, it didn’t look like it.

It looked like a series in which the Hawks are supposed to win. In a swing game, Atlanta did (nearly) everything right. That usually says a lot. Maybe we’ve been looking at this series all wrong.

In the NBA playoffs, it’s entirely reasonable for the favorite to lose focus here and there and to drop a game or two. However, when it comes to swing games that’s when the Pacers of the worlds are supposed to step up and place the delusional underdogs back in their places. Maybe the Hawks aren’t delusional?

Nevertheless, they’ve shown that they do one more thing better than the Pacers — at least according to Indiana’s Paul George.

“We have a dream of winning it all,” George said. “We’ve got be much more tougher than that. I don’t think it’s there. Our toughness is questionable right now.”

Toughness.

I’m not sure if it’s as simple as that, but it’s also clear that this is becoming a mental (toughness) thing for the Pacers. When you’re questioning yourself (and your teammates), that usually doesn’t spell for success.

Sure, the Pacers would probably benefit from a competent Roy Hibbert. But I don’t think he’s the only reason why they are down 2-1, even if his 18 points through the first three games on 7-of-25 shooting isn’t helping his cause.

Credit the Hawks, though. After all, it’s them who are leading the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference right now.

So, yes. During the past couple of days we’ve seen the best (Game 2) and worst (Yahoo report, Game 3) of the Pacers. Maybe they’ll find toughness (of every sort) when they hit the practice courts prior to Game 4. Maybe they won’t.

Either way, it’s clear that sometimes our favorite restaurant isn’t all what we thought.

I mean, sure, the food may look good and taste even better. However, after we’ve seen how it’s made, and what’s behind the kitchen, do we really wanna put it up against major chains when it matters most?

The Pacers had all the ingredients. But something happened over the past two months. Maybe they need to exterminate again, or maybe we’re just making excuses?

Maybe the mouse has done a little more damage than we all thought? Like the Hawks are essentially doing to the top-seeded Pacers right now. Up 2-1.

 

 

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Tags: 2014 NBA Playoffs Atlanta Hawks Indiana Pacers NBA Paul George

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