The Hawks never left any doubt. They were unafraid and never backed down. Seeding did not matter. The regular season did not matter. Atlanta made the Playoffs and proved the team is here to stay.
The Pacers know that now.
Jeff Teague stepped up in the Playoffs once again, slicing up Indiana’s once vaunted defense with so much ease. He scored 28 points on 9-for-19 shooting and dished out five assists. Paul Millsap had 25 points too, pummeling the Pacers’ interior defense. This is not at all what we expected. What anyone expected. Except the Hawks.
With the game tied at 50 at halftime, Atlanta scored the first 15 points of the second half. The team won the third quarter 30-16 on the road against a good second-half team. It was thorough and pure domination. There is no other way to describe it.
And the Hawks shot just 43.4 percent from the floor. What is wrong with the Pacers?
Atlanta got 11 3-point makes, many of them on open looks off of great ball movement. The Pacers could not answer in any way.
Paul George had 24 points, but needed 18 field goal attempts to get there. Lance Stephenson had 19 points on 18 field goal attempts too. Efficiency was not the thing for the Pacers and it showed as the offense ground to a halt.
Frank Vogel said in mic’d up segments throughout the game that the Pacers needed to move the ball and focus on defense. Indiana really did neither. And 17 turnovers for 25 Atlanta points on top of that made things worse.
The Hawks dominated. There is no other way to say it. The Pacers have some things to figure out before Tuesday.