These differences can be attributed to the philosophies of head coaches Frank Vogel and Larry Drew. While neither have advanced further than the conference semifinals with their current team, they're both regarded as good coaches who tend to get the most out of their players. Dig a little deeper though, and there are very few similarities between the two coaches.
Vogel, 39, is one of the younger coaches in the league and prides himself on defense. The Pacers rank second in the NBA in points allowed, giving up an average of just 90.7 points a night.
Vogel also has his teams protect the glass on both ends of the floor, and that has led to Indiana leading the NBA with an average of nearly 46 rebounds a game. If teams are missing their shots -- which they do more often than not against the Pacers -- very few second-chance points are given up.
If there is a knock on Vogel, it's that his teams haven't fared well in the postseason. He has a career record of 7-9 in the playoffs, with the Pacers falling in six games to the Heat last summer.
Drew, 55, tends to focus on the offensive end a bit more. Instead of the controlled pace Indiana typically prefers to play at, Atlanta's head coach likes for his team to get up and down the floor to get plenty of shots in transition. The Hawks shoot the ball very well, and they'll need to be locked in from behind the arc if they hope to upset the Pacers.
Like Vogel, Drew hasn't fared very well in the playoffs. In 18 career games, he's posted a mark of 8-10. Last year, the Hawks fell to the Celtics in six games in the first round.
Drew's toughest job in this series will be getting his team to not force poor shots up. As afore mentioned, the Pacers pride themselves on playing excellent defense for 48 minutes. If Josh Smith and Co. get out of control, which they've done at times throughout the year, it could mean another early exit for Drew and the Hawks. It's key that the coaching staff keeps them reigned in throughout the series.
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