NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, May 1st (All times Eastern)
(1) Indiana Pacers (2-3) at (8) Atlanta Hawks (3-2), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks will try to pull off the monumental upset Thursday night when they go for the series win against the top-seeded Indiana Pacers at Philips Arena.
The Hawks took a 3-2 series lead with a 10-point victory in Indiana Monday night in Game 5.
History is on the Hawks side to some degree. Atlanta is 15-3 in its last 18 as the host against the Pacers and Indiana is 3-7 all-time in Game 6's facing elimination and 0-4 in the same scenario on the road.
And perhaps the most damning statistic against the Pacers is their 0-10 record in the series when they fall behind 3-2.
"I think they just got to continue to believe, and I think we do," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "We got to win one basketball game; don't need to win two, and that's the plan. Going in to win one game."
The Pacers, who finished the season with a 6-9 mark over their last 15, won Game 4 down in Atlanta, but laid an egg on Monday night.
The Hawks' Shelvin Mack scored a team-high 20 points and Mike Scott hit five triples -- all during a 41-point second quarter -- en route to 17 points for Atlanta, which outscored Indiana by 22 points in the second and led by as many as 30 before the Pacers made the final score respectable with a dominant, albeit meaningless, fourth.
Paul Millsap added 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Hawks. Kyle Korver also made five 3-pointers to help Atlanta set a franchise playoff record with 15 makes from behind the arc.
"We haven't shot the ball all that well this series," said Korver. "Last game we went 35 percent from the field. The law of averages, you feel like eventually you're going to start hitting some shots. Our bench came in, especially Mike and Shelvin, and lit it up."
Paul George registered 26 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and six steals in Indiana's second home defeat of the series. David West, Lance Stephenson and George Hill all scored 16 points.
The top-seeded Pacers now run the risk of becoming the sixth No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 8 in the first round and the fourth to do so since the switch to a seven-game format.
"Everybody wants to talk about what's wrong with us, but I think some of the credit needs (to go) to how well they're playing, how well they're shooting it," said Vogel. "You give them credit and believe in what we have in this group right here and our ability to respond."
No one embodies the struggles of the Pacers more than All-Star center Roy Hibbert. He hasn't been on the floor during the fourth quarter, but things sunk to an all-time low in Game 5. Hibbert scored zero points and grabbed zero rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
The Hawks can advance in the postseason for the first time since the 2010-11 season. They dispatched the Orlando Magic, 4-2, in the first round in 2011.
"We have to come with our 'A' game," said Elton Brand. "No team likes to get closed out. They'll play their best. It's the toughest game to win."
If Indiana can extend the series, Game 7 will be Saturday in Indianapolis.
05/01 10:27:49 ET