After two deflating losses to the Hawks at home in less than two weeks, The Pacers are making changes.
"We'll see,” said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel after practice Sunday. “I might bench my starters again...that's a joke."
Maybe not changes that drastic, but the Pacers have to adjust to the Hawks spread out offense, which put up 30 three-point shot attempts in a 101-93 win Saturday night in game one of the best-of-seven series. Will the Pacers play a smaller, quicker lineup to matchup to the Hawks, or try to take more advantage of their size inside on offense?
"I'm not telling," said Vogel.
The Pacers big men were largely ineffective in game one, with Roy Hibbert (8 points, 8 rebounds) almost non-existent until the game was already decided, and David West in foul troubles much of the game.
"We didn't attack them well enough,” said West. “The game got away. I've got to stay on the floor. It was four point game when I left the floor (in the 3rd quarter). It just got out of hand."
Game one was tied at 50 before the Hawks outscored the Pacers 30-16 in the 3rd quarter, including a 14-nothing run. Sunday after practice, Hibbert sounded like a player ready, if not expecting a reduced or different role in game two Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“I'm just going to go out there and make myself available,” said Hibbert. “If I'm called upon to score in the low post, I'm going to do the best I can. But until then, I'm just going to do whatever the coach and the guys need me to do."
George Hill guard Teague in game one, but look for Paul George to guard Indianapolis native Jeff Teague significant minutes in game two.
"Yes, I would love to,” said George, “just to change it up and give them a different look and really battle him out there. I will draw that assignment."
The Hawks point guard slipped through the Pacers defense for 28 points Saturday. Teague scored 25 in the Hawks April 6th blowout win at Indiana. The Pacers have lost only seven games at home this season, but two against the Hawks.
"It's not as bad as it seems,” said Hill. “It's still a seven game series. We watched some great film today to see where we could get better on the defensive and offensive end. That's why it's a best-of-seven series, first team to four."
Pacers vs Hawks playoff schedule:
Game 2 - Tue April 22 Atlanta at Indiana 7:00PM TNT Game 3 - Thu April 24 Indiana at Atlanta 7:00PM NBA TV Game 4 - Sat April 26 Indiana at Atlanta 2:00PM TNT Game 5 * Mon April 28 Atlanta at Indiana 8:00PM NBA TV Game 6 * Thu May 1 Indiana at Atlanta TBD TV - TBD Game 7 * Sat May 3 Atlanta at Indiana TBD TNT