A battle of contrasting styles will take place when the No. 3 seed Indiana Pacers face the No. 6 seed Atlanta Hawks starting on Sunday in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series (1 p.m ET, TNT). The Hawks will try to run the floor and open up space for shooters such as Kyle Korver, while the Pacers will rely on the lockdown defense that earned them the third seed during the regular season. The two teams split their regular season series 2-2.
Indiana enters the postseason with the league's best defensive field goal percentage (42.0) and second-best scoring defense (90.7 points). On paper at least, the Pacers would appear to have a size advantage over the Hawks, with the matchup between Indiana big man Roy Hibbert and Atlanta's Al Horford key in the series. The Hawks will look to capitalize on several head-to-head matchups that could work in their favor, particularly when it comes to versatile forward Josh Smith.
Both teams will be working through injury situations as the first round kicks off, with Atlanta minus center Zaza Pachulia (right Achilles). Pachulia was a major contributor in the two Hawks' wins over the Pacers during the regular season, but did not play a minute in the two losses. Indiana's Danny Granger, out most of the year with a left knee injury, will not play on Sunday. The Pacers will, however, get back point guard George Hill, who is fighting through a left groin injury.
The Pacers have lost 11-straight games in Atlanta and have not won the opening game of a playoff series since 2006.
Here is what you need to know for Sunday's game:
Game time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Television coverage: TNT
Announcers: Matt Devlin, Mike Fratello, Dei Lynam