Pacers vs. Hawks: Indiana's youth leads to offensive woes in Game 3

Kevin C. Cox

The Pacers learned the hard way on Saturday night that they need to control the tempo if they hope to win in the playoffs.

The Indiana Pacers just couldn't get anything to fall on Saturday night as they dropped Game 3 to the Atlanta Hawks, 90-69.

Blame it on the team not showing up mentally, the Hawks catching a couple of lucky breaks or a bunch of young players not physically ready for a road playoff game; it was an uninspiring performance from start to finish. Indiana was never within striking distance in the second half and continued to make lackadaisical mistakes throughout the entire game.

"We're a very young team and it's part of the growing pains," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said in his postgame news conference. "I think they just played with a greater sense of desperation."

Indiana's starters combined to make only 16 shots. They hit just 27 percent of their attempts from the field, including 4-of-25 from behind the three-point arc. Whenever it seemed the Pacers might be putting together some kind of a run, they would turn the ball over. As a team, they gave the ball away 22 times.

The key change for the Hawks came in the frontcourt. Coach Larry Drew opted to start Johan Petro at center instead of keeping Kyle Korver on the wings. This might've caught Indiana off guard a bit, and they allowed the opposition to control the tempo throughout. For a team that really likes to slow the ball down, they got caught in a track meet.

"Our offensive execution wasn't good enough. Our starters or our bench," Vogel said. "It was one of those nights no one had it going."

Fortunately for the Pacers, they still hold a 2-1 series lead over Atlanta. And while they played one of their worst games of the season on Saturday night, there's no reason to panic. These nights happen, especially in the postseason. They hold the home-court advantage in the series, and they'll have Sunday to regroup in practice.

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