Matchup: Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks
Date/Time: April 27, 7:00 pm EST
NBA Odds from WagerWeb
Odds: Hawks -2.5
The Indiana Pacers have jumped out to a 2-0 lead in this series. The pressure is on Atlanta in Game Three. The series is essentially over if they are beaten in this one, so this is almost a win or go home game for the Hawks. They’ll have to find a way to slow down the Pacers offense, which has been firing on all cylinders in this series so far. Let’s take a closer look at Game Three.
Indiana won with their defense all through the season. The Pacers finished the regular season first in the NBA in field goal percentage defense. Opponents shot just 42 percent from the floor against the Pacers during the season. The Pacers have a great shot blocker in the paint in Roy Hibbert. They also have several underrated athletic wing defenders. Because of the Pacers defensive strength during the year, many assumed this would be a defensive series. Instead, it has been the Pacers offense that has led them to two big wins. Indiana put up 107 points in Game One and 113 in Game Two.
Paul George is the NBA Most Improved Player this year, and he has really become a leader for this team. George is a very versatile player who gets to the line about as often as anyone in the conference. George was 17 for 18 from the free throw line in Game One. David West is a consistent scorer at the power forward spot. Roy Hibbert has improved his offensive game each year he has been in the league. George Hill takes care of the ball well, and he averaged 14.4 points per game during the regular season.
Atlanta has been a tough team to figure out this season. At times the Hawks appear ready to take the next step, and at times they appear to barely be a team that is playoff worthy. For much of the season it was assumed that Josh Smith would be gone at the trading deadline, but he is still here and the Hawks are still a confusing team. It seems like the team has enough talent to make a leap in the Eastern Conference, but their inconsistency is maddening. They have clearly been getting outmuscled by the Pacers in this series. Can they respond?
The Hawks are at their best when guys like Josh Smith and Al Horford are doing damage in the paint. Smith can fall in love with the outside jumper far too much at times. Horford is probably the most consistent performer on this team, but he hasn’t been particularly good in the first two games of this series. Atlanta has lost the turnover battle and the rebounding battle in both of the first two games in this series. That will have to change in Game Three if the Hawks want to get back in the series.
Free NBA Pick: Pacers +2.5
The Pacers are the more consistent team, and I think they have a decent shot at making this a short series. I’ll grab the points here in a game that should come down to the wire.
Pacers 96 Hawks 95
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