The Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks split their season series, winning two games apiece, and will now settle in with a seven-game series in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. While the Pacers go into the playoffs with one of the better defenses in the league, it was their offense that stood out through the season series. The Pacers averaged 94.7 points per game through the season, but when playing the Hawks, scored 100 points on average.
How were they doing it? David West led the season series in scoring for both teams as he put in 21.3 points per game on 53.8 percent shooting. Both Jeff Teague and Al Horford averaged 16 points per game for the Hawks in the season series, tied for team-high.
Game 1 - Nov. 7 @ Atlanta - Hawks win 89-86
In the first game of the series, West and George Hill combined for 40 points for the Pacers, but Indiana shot only 41.2 percent from the field for the game. On the other end, the Hawks outrebounded the Pacers 51-41 while Horford put in a team-high 16 points. Atlanta's bench, however, proved to be a difference-maker. Combined, the bench scored 28 points. Louis Williams had nine points off the bench. Zaza Pachulia had a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Hawks were able to squeak out a three-point win, but with contributions from two players that won't be in the series in Pachulia and Williams.
Game 2 - Dec 29 @ Atlanta - Hawks win 109-100
West put in a game-high 29 points, but his effort fell short again as the Hawks defeated the Pacers for the second-straight time. Atlanta's starters put on a clinic, scoring 89 of the team's 109 points. Williams had a team-high 21 points and Horford scored 20 points. Pachulia again had a game-high in rebounds at 14.
Atlanta protected their home court in both games against the Pacers, but each game featured Williams and Pachulia, which leads us to...
Game 3 - Feb 5 @ Indiana - Pacers win 114-103
By this point, both Pachulia and Williams were out for the season for the Hawks. Coincidentally, the Pacers first victory in the season series came after both players were out, and they were on their own court. Paul George dominated, scoring 29 points while 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. The Pacers' offense was clicking overall with seven scorers in double-digits. Jeff Teague had a game-high 24 points for the Hawks, along with eight assists.
Game 4 - Mar 25 @ Indiana - Pacers win 100-94
In the last game of the series, the Pacers again won on their home court in a six-point victory. Even without West, the Pacers scored 100 points, with Gerald Green scoring a team-high 20. The Pacers controlled the glass, outrebounding the Hawks 49-38, as Roy Hibbert (13) and Tyler Hansbrough (11) cleaned up the rim. Josh Smith scored 20 points for the Hawks, their team-high.
While the teams split their season series, there was a clear shift when two things happened: 1) The Pacers were at home, and 2) Pachulia and Williams went down with injuries for the Hawks. Outside of George's 29 points in game three, though, there haven't been any dominant performances, just two teams trying to string together their wins however possible. All trends point towards the Pacers turning their upward trend at the end of the season series into a playoff series victory. Zaza Pachulia and Lou Williams aren't walking through that door and Indiana has home court.