Phillips Arena said what everyone must have been thinking watching the slumping Pacers trudge off after watching Jeff Teague and the Atlanta Hawks resume control of their first-round series, a 98-85 win that gave them a 2-1 edge in the series.
While the Hawks have neither shot lights-out from anywhere on the floor nor do they boast a player running roughshod over everyone a la LaMarcus Aldridge, they’ve done more than enough to hold the Pacers in check.
Paul George was just 3-11 from the floor, Roy Hibbert continued to struggle going 2-9 and George Hill went 1-11. If it weren’t for Lance Stephenson shooting 8-16 on his way to 21 points, Indiana would be dealing with an even more damaging loss.
Jeff Teague led the Hawks, scoring 22 points with his 10 assists. Paul Millsap continues to be a crucial asset inside, occupying David West and Roy Hibbert and giving Atlanta’s shooters space to operate. Millsap finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Kyle Korver knocked in four three-pointers as part of his 20 points.
Indiana’s big issue, like it has been in previous postseason series, seems to be it’s lack of offensive spacing, especially when some key players are not consistent threats.
Roy Hibbert has just 18 total points through three games (shooting 7-25) and grabbed only two rebounds in Thursday’s loss. While a one-game slump is acceptable, a three-game stretch like this has opened the door for Ian Mahinmi to replace Hibbert in the starting lineup, an uncomfortable thought for an All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Atlanta can now put the Pacers on the ropes with a win in Game 4, though they would need to be the first team to win two straight games in this series.
Jeff Teague: 22 points, 7-20 FGS, 10 assists
Kyle Korver: 20 points, 6-9 FGS, 4-7 3FGS
Paul Millsap: 14 points, 3-11 FGS, 14 rebounds
Lance Stephenson: 21 points, 8-16 FGS, 13 rebounds
Luis Scola: 17 points, 7-11 FGS, 3 rebounds
David West: 16 points, 7-13 FGS, 7 rebounds
Game 4 @ ATL: Saturday, April 26, 2pm ET (TNT)