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Pacers Look For First Series Lead

Roy Hibbert will be under the microscope once more when the Pacers host the Hawks on Monday.

Roy Hibbert will be under the microscope once more when the Pacers host the Hawks on Monday.

After trading wins over the last four games, the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks reach the bonus portion of their first round playoff series Monday, taking to the hardwood for Game 5.

Tip-off at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

Having already trailed twice in the series, top-seeded Indiana will look to ride home court advantage to its first series lead over Atlanta. The Hawks meanwhile will be looking to pull off another upset and return to Atlanta with a chance to close out the series at home.

The Pacers responded to a disappointing performance in Game 3 by working a 91-88 victory in Game 4 on Saturday.

After reprimanded his team for not playing hard enough, Paul George recorded his fourth straight double-double of the series, tallying 24 points and 10 rebounds.  David West added 18 points to go alongside 15 from George Hill and Evan Turner’s 11 off the bench.

Under the microscope for the better part of the last two months, Roy Hibbert continued to struggle, posting just six points and three rebounds in 25 minutes of action. Head coach Frank Vogel once more elected to have Luis Scola and Ian Mahinmi attempt to guards the Hawks’ spread offense in place of Hibbert.

Atlanta got a big performance from Paul Millsap in Game 4, as the first-year Hawk notched 29 points, seven boards and three blocks. The backcourt tandem of Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver combined for 29 points while Korver also recorded a career playoff high nine rebounds.

But it was the Pacers that managed to edge the close game, hitting big shots down the stretch while forcing the Hawks to turn the ball over on a trio of important possessions.

With the win, the Pacers regained home-advantage and turned this into a three-game series.

But one win has done little to placate a fan base that has been jumpy since the All-Star break. It also did little to relieve the nerves of the Pacer players and coaching staff. In fact, there are those close to the situation that believe anxiety is proving to be a huge factor for a team that hasn’t won consecutive games in a scenario that mattered for almost two months.

A win on Monday could prove to be the boost the Pacers need to get over the hump and once more become contenders. A big performance from Hibbert would turn the Circle City into believers.

But the Hawks have frustrated the Pacers all season and will be confident they can take the upset win and put the Pacers’ backs firmly against the wall. An Atlanta win would leave the Pacers needing two straight wins – and we’ve already seen how tough that has proven of late.

ATL_IND_Gm4Atlanta Hawks vs. Indiana Pacers odds for 04/28/2014

Indiana (-310) opened as the favorite over Atlanta (+273) on the moneyline despite not having defeated the Hawks in consecutive games this series.

The spread opened at 7 in favor of the Pacers, and has remained steady.

So far this series, the two sides have each covered the spread in two of the four games, with both covering once at home and once on the road.  On the season, Atlanta owns a narrow 4-3-1 ATS advantage.

Indiana is 4-2-1 ATS in its last seven home games against Atlanta.

The total opened at 186.5 and remains steady.

The two sides have combined for an average total of 184.75 points this series, with three games finishing with fewer than 186.5 points.

After the over paid out in Game 1, the total has gone under in each of the last three games. However, three of the four meetings between the sides at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season have seen the over pay out, while nine of Atlanta’s last 10 trips to Indianapolis have followed suit.

Following Monday’s action, Game 6 is scheduled for Thursday (7:00 p.m. ET), with the Hawks hosting the Pacers at Phillips Arena in downtown Atlanta.

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