The home team has won every game between the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks this season. Game two is tonight at Banker's Life Fieldhouse at 7:30 p.m. Indiana's better regular season record earned the Pacers the right to host the first two games in the best-of-seven playoff series.
"It's very important," said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel after Wednesday's pregame shootaround. "That's what you work all year for is home court advantage. It's a big deal. We've got to get game two."
Tyler Hansbrough's hustle exemplified how the Pacers outworked the Hawks in game one. Hansbrough scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds off the Pacers bench.
"Anytime you're in a playoff series you want to take care of your home court," said Hansbrough. "You got your fans behind you. It's tougher when you get on the road. You like to take care of the ones at home."
Indianapolis native Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 21 points and seven assists in game one in his hometown.
"Playoffs don't start until the road team gets a win," said Teague. "Tonight we can hopefully come out and play hard and try to steal one."
Hawks head coach Larry Drew said this morning he will stick with his game one smaller starting lineup of Teague, Devin Harris, Kyle Korver, Josh Smith and Al Horford. Drew wants Teague more fast break baskets.
"We're a team that has to get out in the open court," said Drew. "We were below average first game. We're going to have to do a much better job in getting out and pushing the pace."
Hawks forward Josh Smith rolled his ankle late in game one and missed Monday's practice. But he returned to practice Tuesday.
"I should be ok," said Smith. "It's that time of year where you have to suck up all injuries and be able to go out there and just play. That's what I'm going to do."
The series moves to Atlanta this weekend, where the Pacers have lost 11 in a row.
Game 2 HOME – Pacers vs Hawks - Tonight, April 24, at 7:30 PM (FSI)
Game 3 Away – Pacers at Hawks - Saturday, April 27 at 7:00 PM (ESPN)
Game 4 Away – Pacers at Hawks - Monday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. (FSI)
Game 5 HOME – Pacers vs Hawks* - Wednesday, May 1 at TBD (TBD)
Game 6 Away – Pacers at Hawks* - Friday, May 3 at TBD (TBD)
Game 7 HOME – Pacers vs Hawks* - Sunday, May 5 at TBD (TBD)