The first half was about as ugly as it can get during the playoffs. There were multiple scoring droughts for both teams, with Indiana and Atlanta going more than four minutes midway through the second quarter without scoring a point. The Pacers are shooting 37 percent from the field, while the Hawks have been held to 24 percent.
The two teams have combined to turn the ball over 13 times. They have a total of two fast break points.
It wouldn't be fair to say the first half was a defensive clinic, either. Both sides have had clean looks at the basket; they just can't make anything. Atlanta missed its last 14 shot attempts before halftime. Here's a look at its shot chart in the second quarter.
That's ... not good.
Prior to Game 6, Steve von Horn proposed a couple of key questions that would likely play a big role in determining tonight's winner. Let's take a look at how things have played out thus far.
Will the Pacers' Defense Tame Atlanta's Pick-and-Roll?
After being torn apart earlier in the series, Indiana has done a terrific job defensively in the lane and around the rim. They've held the Hawks to just six points in the paint, using the size of Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Pendergraph to their advantage. Nearly everything Atlanta shot in the first half was a mid-range jumper or three-pointer, and their offense really struggled because of it.
Will Josh Smith have success at SF?
In a word, no. After breaking out earlier in the series on the wing, Smith has been pretty awful in Game 6. He has jacked up plenty of questionable shots, going 1-of-8 from the floor while turning the ball over four times. He has just four points and four rebounds. For a guy who could be playing his final game in Atlanta, Smith isn't doing much to help his hopes for a max contract.
The only thing Smith has done is on the defensive end. Matched up primarily on Paul George, Smith has held his counterpart to just four points.
At the end of the day, though, the Hawks need Smith to be efficient and productive on the offensive end if they hope to force Game 7, and that is the exact opposite of what he's been so far tonight.
Will Jeff Teague show up?
Teague has not played well in the series, shooting the ball at a bad rate, forcing bad decisions on the offensive end and getting picked apart by George Hill on defense. In the first half, Teague had just six points on 2-of-8 shooting, all while dishing out only two assists.
If Teague, who is set to be a restricted free agent this summer, doesn't improve his play in the second half, it's tough to see Atlanta forcing Game 7.
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