Pacers face must-win in Game 2 against Atlanta
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers already have their backs against the wall when they face a must-win Game 2 against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
After an alarming 101-93 loss to the eighth-seeded Hawks on Saturday, the top- ranked Pacers could fall down 2-0 with a setback on Tuesday. That would spell serious trouble considering the Hawks have won 14 of the last 16 in Atlanta.
"We're upset, hungry, hurt - ready to go out there and compete," said Indiana's Roy Hibbert.
The Pacers should've been all of those things on Saturday.
Indiana went 10-13 to finish the season and carried that bad play over to the postseason. One of those losses was a home setback to the Hawks on April 6, and while they pose some matchup problems for the Pacers, Atlanta was brilliant on Saturday.
Indianapolis native Jeff Teague enjoyed his playoff homecoming, scoring 28 points with five assists to lead the Hawks to victory in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Teague had 14 of his game-high 28 points in the third quarter, which Atlanta dominated from start to finish to pull away after the teams played to a draw in the first half. The Hawks outscored Indiana 30-16 in the period.
"I just wanted to be aggressive. We know they're a good defensive team with a lot of length. We just wanted to attack, stay aggressive and hit the open guy," said Teague. "We've got a lot of shot-makers. We know they are a long team who likes to clog the paint. But we want to stretch the floor against them."
Paul Millsap scored 25 points for the eighth-seeded Hawks, who are in the postseason for the seventh straight season. DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver donated 12 points apiece.
Paul George had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana, while Lance Stephenson scored 19 points and George Hill added 12.
"It isn't the NCAA [tournament]. One game doesn't mean we're out of the playoffs. We have to look at film and figure out how we can get four games," said Hill.
It was 50-50 at the half, but the Hawks dominated the final 24 minutes.
Millsap's three-point play set the tone for the Atlanta-dominated third period. Carroll followed with a 3-ball and Teague hit a short jumper for a 58-50 lead.
The Pacers got back within two then Teague took over, scoring nine straight points following two Millsap free throws to give Atlanta its largest lead at 71-58.
Another Millsap three-point play capped a 14-0 flurry, and Hibbert was whistled for a moving screen on the other end to a chorus of boos from the home fans.
The fourth quarter was more of the same for the Hawks, who hit timely baskets and made enough stops to keep Indiana at arm's length. The margin reached 20 points on multiple occasions before late 3-pointers from the Pacers brought the final tally into single digits.
The Hawks were the fourth No. 8 Seed to win Game 1 by at least eight points. Two of the three others (Knicks in 1999, Warriors in 2007) went on to win the series.
Game 3 will be Thursday night in Atlanta.
04/22 10:24:39 ET