Pacers tie series 1-1, look to win on road
The number one seed Indiana Pacers cleaned their act up Tuesday night, handling the Hawks 101-85. The win evens up the series at 1-1.
This Pacer squad appeared to finally be the team that claimed the top seed this season. Indiana can thank Paul George for much of the win in game 2.
George led all scorers Tuesday night with 27 points. Adding ten rebounds, George’s double-double definitely sparked an Indiana group that has been feeling the pressure as of late to get back to their usual play. Paul George now has a double-double in both playoff games this series.
Even Luis Scola brought his A game Tuesday, dropping 20 points and 7 rebounds off the bench. Indiana’s ability to bring strong talent off the bench like Scola and Turner definitely eases the load for the starting five.
The Pacers outscored the Hawks 31 to 13 in the 3rd quarter. Strong defense and containment of Hawks’ guard Jeff Teague helped Indiana make some crucial runs throughout the game.
Teague torched the Pacers with 28 points in game one, producing a sense of obvious frustration in the number one seed. However, Teague’s 14 points in game 2 produced little impact for the Hawks.
Even after Indiana took care of business in game 2, Yahoo! Sports broke a story about some pre-series frustration between Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner. Allegedly, Lance and Evan had a bit of a scuffle, without any damaging punches being thrown. The argument took place during the first practice before game 1 of this series.
While Turner is not the first Pacer, or player in the league, to bump heads with Stephenson, both players are looking to move past this and look forward to game 3 in Atlanta. Indiana does not want to split this road series and leave the door open for the dangerous Atlanta team to make their move. Ignoring stories like this is in the best interest of the Pacers.
Expect the play from George to keep the Pacers afloat through this series. Game 1 should be one that most people forget after this series concludes. That is, if the Pacers decide to take care of business.
Game 3 begins Thursday evening on NBA TV. While the playoffs are a completely different atmosphere, it is worth noting that the Pacers were 21-20 in the regular season on the road. While statistics say Indiana probably will not win both games in Atlanta, I beg to differ.
Watching George find his stride in these two playoff games, the Pacers are really just a step away from returning to that dangerous team from the regular season. If Roy Hibbert can show up one of these days, the Pacers may be the scariest team in all of the NBA playoffs.
It was the effort of Hibbert, amongst others, that brought the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Time for him to step up now.
If the Pacers can take care of business the rest of round one, either the Wizards or Bulls will stand in their way next. While the Bulls were able to reach the playoffs without Rose, it looks unlikely that they will escape round one. Trailing 2-0 in the series, and coming off of a 2-point devastating loss in the last game, the Bulls look defeated.
This is the playoffs though, and anything can happen. And for the first time in 30 years, this is the Stern-less NBA playoffs. Stay tuned, still over a month to go until this journey called the NBA playoffs concludes.