NBA Playoffs 2013: Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks Comprehensive Preview

 

Feb 5, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) drives to the basket against Atlanta Hawks guard DeShawn Stephenson (92) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Atlanta 114-103. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs 2013

(3) Indiana Pacers VS Atlanta Hawks (6)

Regular season record: 49-32 Indiana Pacers : Atlanta Hawks 44-38

Regular season series: Indiana Pacers 2-2 Atlanta Hawks

5 Facts:

  • The Hawks rank seventh in field goal percentage (46.4%). The Pacers boast the league’s lowest opponent field goal percentage (42%).
  • At 37.1 percent, Atlanta is also seventh in three-point percentage. At 34.7 percent, Indiana ranks 22nd.
  • The Hawks average 98 points per game (14th in the NBA). The Pacers yield the second-fewest points per game (90).
  • Atlanta is sixth in efficiency field goal percentage (51.7%). Indiana is 22nd (47.9%).
  • At -1.3, the Hawks eleventh-lowest plus/minus rating comes against the Pacers. Coincidentally, Indiana’s eleventh-lowest plus/minus rating comes at the hands of Atlanta (1.3).

Indiana can win if…

The Pacers strength is their physical-natured defense. Indiana’s size and athleticism allow the team to ware opponents down and force them to take bad shots. Josh Smith is one of the NBA’s biggest victims of poor shot selection. If the size and physicality of David West and Roy Hibbert can deter Smith and Al Horford, while the wings protect the three-point line, Frank Vogel’s team is in good shape.

Atlanta can win if…

The Hawks possess the ability to play inside-out, have the necessary shooters to rely heavily on the three and have players such as Jeff Teague and Devin Harris, who can attack the basket. As the Pacers continue to make adjustments, if Atlanta can figure out how to best attack Indiana’s defense, it has a chance to pull off the upset.

Prediction

After an impressive showing against the Heat last year, the Pacers have developed into a more impressive team this season. Paul George had a breakout season, averaging 17.4 points per game and earning his first trip to the all-star game. Frank Vogel has this team believing that it cannot only beat Miami but is a true contender for the championship. I expect Indiana’s defense to stymie the Hawks.

Winner: Indiana Pacers 4-2 Atlanta Hawks

Topics: Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, NBA Playoffs 2013

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