Pacers Fall To Hawks, Trail Series 2-1

Much like they have since early March, the Indiana Pacers continue to struggle against the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. After rebounding from a loss in Game 1 to tie the series, the Pacers lost 98-85 to the Hawks on the road Thursday, putting them down 2-1.

Has a one-game deficit ever looked so formidable?

Neither team looked particularly good early on—sloppy play on both sides made it impossible to establish a rhythm. The Hawks were an abysmal 12-of-40 from the field, shooting just 30 percent in the first half. The Pacers weren’t much better, going 15-of-40.

Jeff Teague really came alive for Atlanta in the second half, becoming the first player in these playoffs with 20+ points and 10 assists. Teague scored 22 points, including a late three-pointer that helped secure victory for the Hawks. Kyle Korver added another 20 points and Paul Millsap led the team in rebounds with 14.

Indiana All-Star Roy Hibbert, on the other hand, was nothing short of terrible. The Pacers captain was 0-for-3 in the paint in the first half, finishing the game 2-of-9, with four points, two rebounds and one assist. Only point guard George Hill’s game came close to the futility displayed in Hibbert’s, going 1-of-11 from the field, with three rebounds, four assists, and he was 0-for-3 from the three-point arc.

Although they came back to win in Game 2, the No. 1 seeded Pacers have been dominated by the No. 8 Hawks through much of the series. It’s hard to imagine this is the same Hawks team that finished the regular season six games under .500.

With Game 4 scheduled for Saturday in Atlanta, Indiana already finds themselves in a critical, must-win situation.

Very few teams are able to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the postseason, and this Pacers team hasn’t demonstrated anything in the last two months that suggest they would be capable of such a feat. Meaning they have two days to finally right this ship and save their season.

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