After a win in game five, the Atlanta Hawks are one victory away from making their first second round (playoffs) appearance since the 2010-11 season when they defeated the Orlando Magic (4-2) and lost to the Chicago Bulls (2-4).
The leading scorers for Atlanta were Paul Millsap (18), Kyle Korver (16), Jeff Teague (12), DeMarre Carroll (15), Mike Scott (17), and Shelvin Mack (20). The bench was huge for the Hawks as they outscored the opposing Pacers bench 34-2 in the first half of the game. Scott and Mack were leading that charge with a combined 37 points, seven three-pointers made (five of which were from Scott), six assists, six rebounds and two steals.
“We know we can play with this team,” Scott said. “We know they’re a great team, especially at home with great players and a great coach. But we believe in ourselves. (Shelvin) Mack made some shots. Kyle (Korver) made some shots and I made some shots and we were able to play with great pace in that second quarter. It’s the same game plan we’ve been using all year. Spread them out and run the pick-and-roll game or the pick-and-pop game. And they were worried about Mack and I was able to get loose for some good looks. And then they were just heat checks shots.”
If the Pacers want to rebound and somehow win the series (which would have to be in seven games), it is critical that they can limit the Hawks’ three-point shooting. In game five, Atlanta put up 27 three-pointers…15 of which were good (56%).
“When you have more than one shooter on the floor at one time (the defense) can’t just focus on one person,” said Korver. “You have to keep running everybody off the line. So we had a lot of shooting out there and a lot of guys making shots. Shelvin (Mack) was driving the basket. Jeff (Teague) was driving the basket. It creates a lot of scenarios for the defense.”
Defensively the Hawks have been solid, they don’t have much to work on. The Pacers, on the other hand, need to calm down their personal fouling. Indiana has been in foul trouble in just about the entirety of every game in this first round playoff series.
“If we keep playing together, keep trusting each other defensively and let that carry over to the offensive end of the court, that is what we’re working on,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “That is what we are looking to stay together defensively, looking to stay together offensively.”
With their performance, the 2013-14 Atlanta Hawks can join the 1970 Milwaukee Bucks as the only road teams in the shot-clock era to score at least 40 points in a quarter and give up fewer than 19.
The Hawks now have a chance to take the entire series with a win Wednesday night in Atlanta.
“We can play with this team,” Scott said. “They’re a great team, especially at home, great players, great coach, but we have a belief in ourselves as well.”
The post With Another Win, the Hawks Would Shock the World appeared first on TopSportsReport.