5 Ways the Atlanta Hawks Can Guarantee A First-Round Win

5 Ways Atlanta Can Guarantee A First-Round Win

DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta Hawks
Pat Lovell-USA Today Sports

The Atlanta Hawks should consider themselves lucky to even be in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. After a season of multiple long losing streaks and massive injuries, the Hawks are looking to fly high as they meet the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. What will it take to fly into the second round? Let's find out.

5. Elton Brand Must Play Big

Elton Brand, Atlanta Hawks
Kevin Liles-USA Today Sports

5. Elton Brand Must Play Big

Elton Brand, Atlanta Hawks
Kevin Liles-USA Today Sports

Elton Brand has been quite a surprise for the Hawks this year, keeping Atlanta's frontcourt afloat during its wrath of injuries at mid-season. Brand must play big against Indiana's tall big men in order for Atlanta to have a chance.

4. Lou Must Be the X-Factor

Louis WIlliams, Atlanta Hawks
Brian Spurlock-USA Today Sports

4. Lou Must Be the X-Factor

Louis WIlliams, Atlanta Hawks
Brian Spurlock-USA Today Sports

There were some nights during the regular season when Lou Williams looked like a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. And there were other nights when we wondered where in the world Lou Williams was at. If the Hawks hope to pull off an upset over the Pacers, Williams has to punch in and bring his A-game every game.

3. The K-Man Must Bomb the Pacers From Outside

Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks
Pat Lovell-USA Today Sports

3. The K-Man Must Bomb the Pacers From Outside

Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks
Pat Lovell-USA Today Sports

Kyle Korver is one of the top three-point shooters in the NBA, and he must continue to demonstrate why against one of the league's top defenders of the three-ball.

2. Millsap Must Manhandle David West

Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
Pat Lovell-USA Today Sports

2. Millsap Must Manhandle David West

Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
Pat Lovell-USA Today Sports

Paul Millsap was the best bargain free agent signing this season, picking up the offensive load when star Al Hortford went down for the season. Millsap will have to continue to carry Atlanta's offense against Indiana's David West. If Millsap can win this match-up, the Hawks have a shot to kick out Miami Heat's arch enemy.

1. Jeff Teague Must Own Pacers Point Guards

Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks
Pat Lovell-USA Today Sports

1. Jeff Teague Must Own Pacers Point Guards

Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks
Pat Lovell-USA Today Sports

If there is one clear advantage the Hawks have over the Pacers, it is at point guard. Jeff Teague has continued to make a statement that he is among the NBA's best point guards, and if he can control the tempo and dominate George Hill, the Hawks will be setting themselves on a course to the second round.

Around the Web