The Indiana Pacers entered the postseason with plenty of questions surrounding them, and not many of them were answered in a 101-93 Game 1 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Now the Pacers will try to avoid an 0-2 hole on Tuesday night.
After a back-and-forth first half in Game 1, the Hawks blew the doors off the Pacers in the third quarter, taking a 14-point lead into the final frame and cruising to victory. Jeff Teague led the way with a playoff career-high 28 points, taking advantage of the fact that Roy Hibbert was consistently drawn away from the rim by the Hawks' stretch big men. Paul Millsap added 25 points and eight rebounds.
Indiana looks to pull even
Indiana's offense had some moments of competence, and the Pacers did knock down 9-of-21 from three. However, the offense was a disaster in the third quarter, which allowed Atlanta to grab a big lead. The Pacers shot just 42.0 percent overall and turned the ball over 17 times, keeping with the theme from the end of the regular season. Paul George had 24 points, but he shot just 6-of-18. Hibbert and David West combined for just 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Hibbert's recent struggles have been well-documented, and he went as far as calling himself the "weak link" on defense due to his inability to guard the Hawks' mobile bigs, according to Zak Keefer of The Indy Star. Hibbert and Pacers coach Frank Vogel will have to figure out a way to make the big man more effective; otherwise, it could be a rough series for Indiana.
Game time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
Announcing crew: Joel Meyers, Chris Webber and Molly Sullivan
Local: 1070 The Fan, SportsSouth