Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks: First Round Playoff Preview

USA TODAY Sports

Sadly, this is the one series that will probably get yawned at. Two fan bases that have had issues selling out their building to their fans (see Pacers issues with Lakers and Heat fans out numbering their fans in late season games) and there isn't a superstar that people can really latch on to. Adding both market sizes and we'll probably have the lowest rated games of the Finals. I like both these teams, but it's the NBA World in which live in.

The Indiana Pacers were primed to be the team that was supposed to knock the Heat out of the playoffs this year and contend for a championship. Funny things happen like injuries that curtail a team's best laid plans. Danny Granger has missed most of the year due to a knee injury and the Pacers missed most of his offense. Roy Hibbert signed a max contract over the summer and his points went down, rebounds also down, FG percentage down five points, but his defensive efficiency has gotten better. Five points better to be exact.

While the Pacers do miss Granger and his offense, Paul George has taken a huge jump this year and some say he is now a borderline superstar. He's up five points in scoring, up in rebounds and he's quietly become a bit of a lockdown defender on the perimeter. He's giving almost six less points per 100 possessions. That's a big jump in my opinion. He's also silky smooth. If you haven't had a chance to watch him, you should at least once.

Josh Smith and Al Horford are about the only thing that can keep the Hawks afloat here. This team is feisty and they do try hard, but outside of Smith and Horford there is a huge drop in the talent gap. Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver are their next best players and then after that. It's not really pretty.

Tale of the Tape

Indiana Pacers

Atlanta Hawks

94.7

PPG

98.0

45.9

RPG

40.9

20.3

APG

24.5

7.16

SPG

8.10

43.6

FG%

46.4

34.7

3PT%

37.1

74.6

FT%

71.5

Paul George
David West
Roy Hibbert


Best Three

Josh Smith
Al Horford
Jeff Teague

George Hill

X Factor

Kyle Korver

George Hill is going to have to play some really solid ball throughout. Teague isn't a household name, but he'll give Hill hell when he's out of the court.

Korver is going to have to do Korver things. Try not to suck too bad defensively and hit as many threes as possible.

Sorry for the shortness of this preview, was writing as the Boston shootout was happening and that got more of my attention. Taking the Pacers in five even though they haven't been playing the greatest down stretch, but neither have the Hawks.

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