Apparently, the Indiana Pacers didn’t receive the message from the thumping they sustained to the Atlanta Hawks two weeks ago. If the message was received, then the only logical explanation for their poor performance in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, is they were taking a little Easter vacation. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe, they had to dye a few eggs for an Easter Egg Hunt, or do some last-minute work on their Easter baskets. Nevertheless, whatever it was, clearly had their attention more than the Hawks did, Saturday night. Especially, in the disastrous and decisive 3rd quarter.
That’s not to take anything away from Atlanta. The Hawks took advantage of not only the Pacer ineptness, but also a couple of mismatches that are in their favor. Jeff Teague, had a career game and a career high for points (28). It was really obvious that Indiana really didn’t have an answer for Teague’s quickness, as he lived in the paint. Opening up the Hawks offense not only for him, but for his teammates as well. Paul Millsap, who’s really been hot since coming back recently from an injury, had 25 points.
For the Pacers, the loss means the questions continue about a team, that not long ago looked like the favorite to win the NBA title. Roy Hibbert continued his slide from the latter half of the regular season. He had 8 points and 8 rebounds, while his front-court counterpart, David West did no better with 8 points of his own. If, the Pacers hope to even have a chance to avenge their loss to the Miami Heat and get to the NBA Finals, those numbers have to come up. There will also have to be some type of adjustment defensively against Teague in pick-and-roll situations. Game 2, will be vital. Not only to even up the series, but because Indiana has won only twice in ‘Hotlanta’ since 2006. Should be an interesting Game 2, Tuesday night.