NBA playoff schedule 2013, Pacers vs. Hawks: Indiana on rough patch entering postseason

USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers open their first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs as a host to the Atlanta Hawks.

The Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers split their four-game regular season series, and although the Pacers rebounded from two 2012 losses to the Hawks with two wins in 2013, there's no doubt Indiana is coming down the stretch with more issues.

Frank Vogel's team lost FOUR/FIVE???? of its last six games heading into the playoffs, and Indiana is just 3-5 against Eastern Conference playoff-bound opponents since the beginning of March. Two of those wins, however, came against Atlanta.

The two teams meet in a 3-6 seed clash in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs with the Pacers holding home-court advantage for the seven-game series.

While the Hawks miss the bench presence of Lou Williams, who is out for the year with an ACL injury, they are using a gritty, deep rotation to make due. Plus, Al Horford and Josh Smith are still their usual selves in the paint. Horford is averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds a game, and Smith is putting in 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists per night -- questionable jumpers aside, he's still mighty productive.

And the Hawks have made up for Joe Johnson's move to Brooklyn in two ways.

They've benefitted from the improvement of point guard Jeff Teague, who in his fourth year holds career-best averages of 15 points and seven assists. Kyle Korver's role with Atlanta has also been of great help, giving coach Larry Drew an piece to truly space the floor so Horford and Smith can operate inside. The 46 percent three-point shooter is also an obvious threat to score off screen action.

Indiana's stout defense that's atop the NBA will surely challenge the Hawks. The Pacers have the paint presence in Roy Hibbert to control Horford, a versatile forward in Paul George and an inside-out offense to score points on the Hawks.

The two teams aren't all that different. Where the Pacers are No. 1 in defensive rating, the Hawks aren't far behind in the top-10. Their offenses are closely ranked No. 18 and 19 in the NBA in terms of points per 100 possessions, according to Basketball-Reference.com.

Game 1

Time: 1 p.m. ET Sun., April 21

TV, streaming info: TNT

Game 2

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET Weds., April 24

TV, streaming info: NBA TV

Game 3

Time: 7 p.m. ET Sat., April 27

TV, streaming info: ESPN

Game 4

Time: TBD Mon. April 29

TV, streaming info: TBD

Game 5 (TBD)

Time: TBD Weds., May 1

TV, streaming info: TBD

Game 6 (TBD)

Time: TBD Fri., May 3

TV, streaming info: TBD

Game 7 (TBD)

Time: TBD Sun., May 5

TV, streaming info: TBD

More from SB Nation:

And the NBA award winners are ...

Watch Tony Allen sing karaoke

Tjarks: What Marcus Smart's decision means

Paul Flannery: A letter from Boston

2013 NBA mock draft: An overly exuberant scout's take

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.