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2014 NBA Playoff Series Preview: Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks

2014 NBA Playoffs 1st Round Preview: Hawks vs. Pacers

2014 NBA Playoffs 1st Round Preview: Hawks vs. Pacers
Daniel Shirey - USA Today Sports Images

Despite falling off quite dramatically in the second-half of the regular season, the Indiana Pacers are the top-seed in the Eastern Conference. Similarly, the Atlanta Hawks survived a multitude of injuries and losing-streaks to capture the eight seed. Here’s how the two teams match up for their first round series in the 2014 NBA Playoffs.

PG Matchup: George Hill vs. Jeff Teague

PG Matchup: George Hill vs. Jeff Teague
Daniel Shirey - USA Today Sports Images

PG Matchup: George Hill vs. Jeff Teague

PG Matchup: George Hill vs. Jeff Teague
Daniel Shirey - USA Today Sports Images

George Hill has become noticeably tentative and lackluster since the All-Star break while Jeff Teague has been one of the reasons that Atlanta has stayed afloat. Assuming Hill stays relatively unaggressive in this series, I’ve got to give the edge to Teague in this matchup.

SG Matchup: Lance Stephenson vs. Kyle Korver

SG Matchup: Lance Stephenson vs. Kyle Korver
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SG Matchup: Lance Stephenson vs. Kyle Korver

SG Matchup: Lance Stephenson vs. Kyle Korver
Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports Images

In the four regular season meetings between these two teams, Kyle Korver absolutely lit it up, going 10-20 from long-range. Meanwhile, Lance Stephenson has been mediocre in the three games he played in versus Atlanta. Even with that, I’ve got to give the advantage to Stephenson. Between his defense and ability to provide a spark at any time, he just brings more.

SF Matchup: Paul George vs. DeMarre Carroll

SF Matchup: Paul George vs. DeMarre Carroll
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SF Matchup: Paul George vs. DeMarre Carroll

SF Matchup: Paul George vs. DeMarre Carroll
Pat Lovell - USA Today Sports Images

This is the one of the big mismatches of the series, especially if George can get back into some kind of offensive rhythm. Carroll is quietly a huge part of the Hawks’ success and offense, but George’s defense can render him ineffective. The edge goes to George and it’s not really close.

PF Matchup: David West vs. Paul Millsap

PF Matchup: David West vs. Paul Millsap
Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports Images

PF Matchup: David West vs. Paul Millsap

PF Matchup: David West vs. Paul Millsap
Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports Images

Millsap has had the better year between the two power forwards, but has struggled against West and the Pacers this season, shooting 31.1 percent in the four matchups in the regular season against Indiana. Despite that, Millsap is the more versatile of the pair and can have a bigger impact on the series. I give the edge to the Hawks big man here, but only slightly.

C Matchup: Roy Hibbert vs. Pero Antic

C Matchup: Roy Hibbert vs. Pero Antic
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C Matchup: Roy Hibbert vs. Pero Antic

C Matchup: Roy Hibbert vs. Pero Antic
Andrew Richardson - USA Today Sports Images

Another huge mismatch in this series, Hibbert can absolutely dominate in the post, even with his recent offensive debacle. What’s interesting, though, is how Hibbert does defending Antic, who can stretch the floor and had success in the two games he played against the Pacers. I give the edge to Hibbert, but there are certainly ways Atlanta can turn that around with Antic.

Bench Matchup

Bench Matchup
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Bench Matchup

Bench Matchup
Joshua S. Kelly - USA Today Sports Images

From a talent standpoint, Indiana’s bench outweighs Atlanta’s. However, with how mightily the Pacers’ bench has struggled lately, you almost have to give the Hawks and Lou Williams the advantage in this department. With C.J. Watson back for the Pacers, though, I think Indiana can get back to taking the edge when the reserves are on the floor.

Coaching Matchup: Frank Vogel vs. Mike Budenholzer

Coaching Matchup: Frank Vogel vs. Mike Budenholzer
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Coaching Matchup: Frank Vogel vs. Mike Budenholzer

Coaching Matchup: Frank Vogel vs. Mike Budenholzer
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Frank Vogel has the clear advantage from an experience standpoint over Mike Budenholzer. Sure, Budenholzer has been here as an assistant with the Spurs, but Vogel has been the leader during the Pacers’ rise to prominence in recent years. As a result, Vogel has the edge until Budenholzer proves otherwise.

Series Notes

Series Notes
Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports Images

Series Notes

Series Notes
Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports Images

The two teams split the regular season series 2-2 this season with the losing team scoring fewer than 90 points three times. The two teams met in the first round of the postseason last year as well, with Indiana winning the series in six games. The glaring difference and likely x-factor, though, is the absence of Al Horford for Atlanta as he recovers from a torn pectoral muscle.