Atlanta Hawks vs Indiana Pacers Game 4 Preview
Well, the Pacers find themselves in a bad situation. A number one seed isn’t supposed to lose in the first round. But, the Pacers have looked in trouble since late March. This game is crucial as they are down 1-2. Give the Hawks credit. They came. They saw. They are currently conquering. They look like real hawks out there. Let’s look at some keys to the game.
1) Roy Hibbert needs to show up
Remember the roundtable the SCIC staff did a little before the playoffs started? One of the questions Mike asked us was if Roy Hibbert would even average at least five rebounds for the series. I said yes. Right now, he’s averaging 4.67 rebounds per game after a two rebound effort. It’s almost a joke how he’s disappeared. And his scoring? Hasn’t seen double digits yet. But! He only averaged 10.6 points and 6.6 rebounds a game during the season. So, why does it seem like he’s playing a lot worse, even though his stats are not too far off the regular season averages?
He fails the eye test. He doesn’t look interested. There’s no effort. He has to get himself involved. His teammates have to look for him. If not, the Pacers are going home early.
2) The Hawks need to keep shooting
The Hawks are shooting worse than the Pacers. However, they have a lot more players shooting and therefore spacing the floor. They have at least six players take double digit amount of attempts from outside. Meanwhile, the Pacers only have two in double digits. After those two (Paul George and Lance Stephenson), the next player is C.J. Watson with nine attempts. Other than that, the Pacers don’t have anybody that shoots outside. With the Hawks spreading the floor, they can attack and, if they run into traffic, kick it out. As a huge Sixers fan, I know guys like Lou Williams and Kyle Korver won’t disappoint often from out there. Heck, Shelvin Mack played for the Sixers for a minute.
3) The Pacers need to continue to dominate inside
The Pacers have won the points in the paint battle and the rebounding battle each game. Sort of a continuation of the first point, the series for them will be inside. They will have to get Hibbert back in the swing of things. But, also, they need to make sure the Hawks are forced to shoot. And keeping Paul Millsap in check is key.