The Atlanta Hawks are better than the Indiana Pacers. I’m not just saying this because of the Hawks win over the Pacers in Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Playoffs either. All season long, I have thought Atlanta had the best team when these two faced off, and all the victory did last night was cement my feelings even more about this Atlanta team.
Led by coach Mike Budenholzer, the Hawks could really do the unimaginable and pull off one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. The way they do it might shock people, too. They have a legitimate chance to not only beat the No. 1 seed in the first round, but they could easily sweep the Pacers after watching the Hawks come into Indianapolis, and beat them on their own home floor.
The key will be Game 2. Everyone knows this is a must win for Indiana, so you know their whole team is going to come out swinging and give it their all. The Pacers have something to prove in this game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they got off to a hot start to begin the first quarter. However, if Atlanta can withstand the storm in the early going, there is no reason why the Hawks can’t come out victorious again.
With Jeff Teague running the show, and an array of shooters by his side, they are the confident group entering this contest. The Pacers already showed that they have no answer for Teague, which means coach Frank Vogel might make some changes to his defensive strategies. Some believe Paul George, who is a premier defender, could possibly be matched up against the quick point guard of the Hawks. If that’s the case, this is a telling sign about the state of the Pacers.
If they are already changing their ways to match up against the No. 8 seed, Atlanta has already won this series. It might not happen in a sweep, but don’t put that past the Hawks. They aren’t the ones with the pressure on them. That would be the Pacers, and everyone knows what happens when the pressure becomes too much in sports — a collapse.