***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
Tuesday, April 22nd
(All times Eastern)
(8) ATLANTA HAWKS (1-0) AT (1) INDIANA PACERS (0-1), 7 P.M.
(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
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,"
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
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
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
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
Game 3 will be Thursday night in Atlanta.
(6) BROOKLYN NETS (1-0) AT (3) TORONTO RAPTORS (0-1), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors will try to even their series with
the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night when the two sides clash at Air Canada
The more-experienced Nets took Game 1 in Toronto on Saturday afternoon, 94-87.
Paul Pierce showed exactly why the Nets acquired him in the offseason from the
Boston Celtics. The future Hall of Famer and former NBA champion with the
Celtics scored nine of his 15 points in the final three minutes, part of a
19-11 game-ending run that put away the upstart Raptors in their first playoff
game since 2008.
Joe Johnson and Deron Williams contributed 24 points apiece to help Brooklyn
draw first blood in a contentious series that became more heated after Raptors
general manager Masai Ujiri made disparaging remarks towards the Nets during a
pregame rally outside Air Canada Centre.
"They're going to come out a lot harder than in Game 1," said Pierce. "The
crowd is going to be a lot louder than in Game 1. We have to understand how
hard it is to win in another building two times in a row in the playoffs. We
have to come with that mentality, nothing less."
Ujiri shouted "F--- Brooklyn" while delivering a fiery speech to a large crowd
camped outside the Raptors' arena prior to the contest, and the tension was
evident as well in a physical game that owned only a one-point differential
before the battle-tested Nets got the better of the final five minutes.
Ujiri was fined $25,000 for the outburst.
The third-seeded and Atlantic Division champion Raptors received 22 points and
eight assists from Kyle Lowry and a 17-point, 18-rebound effort out of Jonas
Valanciunas, but shot just 39.4 percent from the field and committed 19
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto's leading scorer during the regular season, finished
with 14 points but went 3-of-13 from the floor.
"I thought we played a little bit as expected, as it is our first playoff
game," said Toronto head coach Dwane Casey. "We got the kinks out of the
playoff atmosphere, now we have to go back and clean up the 19 turnovers."
Johnson started a pivotal 7-0 run with a runner that gave Brooklyn a 77-76
edge and Kevin Garnett knocked down his only basket of the day shortly
afterward before Pierce's 3-pointer with 2:58 to go left the Nets up by six
and Toronto reeling.
Pierce delivered two more clutch shots in the closing stages, the first a
baseline jumper out of a timeout for an 86-78 advantage with 1:32 remaining.
After a Greivis Vasquez 3-pointer got the Raptors back within five, Pierce
landed a spinning runner from the foul line that all but iced the game with
51.9 seconds on the clock.
"We talked all season about what the six-minute mark means to our team and how
we feel the veteran guys making plays for one another and sharing the ball,"
said Nets head coach Jason Kidd. "Tonight was a perfect of example of that
with Deron and Joe playing in the pick-and-roll and Paul taking advantage."
Game 3 will be in Brooklyn on Friday night.
(5) WASHINGTON WIZARDS (1-0) AT (4) CHICAGO BULLS (0-1), 9:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls will try to knot up their series with
the Washington Wizards Tuesday night as the two sides meet again at the United
The Wizards upset the Bulls, 102-93, Sunday night in Chicago.
"After yesterday's practice I knew these guys were focused like they haven't
been before and that's a good sign," said Wizards coach Randy Wittman.
Nene scored 24 points and the Wizards had big contributions from all five
starters in their first playoff game in six years. They overcame a 13-point
deficit and claimed home-court advantage from their much more-experienced
"It's always a game of runs," said Wittman. "I always tell our guys, 'Stay in
the moment.' When we got down 13, we stayed in the moment."
The Bulls remained in the lead following a 14-4 run in second quarter until
Trevor Ariza's free throws with 4:17 remaining put the Wizards in front.
The shots were part of a 14-3 run that gave the Wizards an eight-point lead
with 25 seconds left.
Nene rattled in a shot during the spurt but the biggest points might have been
Marcin Gortat's baseline jumper after he rebounded a John Wall miss, pushing
Washington's lead to six with 34.2 seconds remaining.
Gortat totaled 15 points and 13 rebounds, Ariza had 18 points, Wall scored
16 with six rebounds and six assists and Bradley Beal had 13 points and seven
assists for fifth-seeded Washington.
The Wizards also got a huge boost from veteran Andre Miller. He scored 10 off
the bench and played brilliantly in the fourth quarter.
The fourth-seeded Bulls, in the playoffs for the second straight year without
injured star Derrick Rose, were led by 16 points apiece from Kirk Hinrich and
D.J. Augustin. Joakim Noah added 10 points and 10 rebounds and Jimmy Butler
"Our defense wasn't very good; 102 points, 48 percent (shooting),
outrebounded. It's hard to win like that," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
Maybe the Bulls can garner some momentum from Monday's announcement that Noah
was named Defensive Player of the Year.
"This award is a team award," he said after accepting the trophy.
The Bulls led the NBA in opponents' scoring and finished second in opponents'
The defense should improve, but the offense remains a concern for the Bulls.
Chicago was held to 39 points in the second half, where a pure scorer, which
the Bulls don't have, could take over a game. Chicago also shot 42 percent
from the field and 25 percent from long range.
Washington will host Game 3 on Friday night.
04/22 10:30:31 ET