After a late-season collapse, the Indiana Pacers were expected to clear their heads, set things straight and come out strong in Game 1 of the playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks. The postseason is a new season, a fresh start for teams to forget about any of their regular-season woes and get a good jump on your opposition. Having home-court advantage throughout all of the postseason is nice to have in the back of your mind, but Indiana didn’t take advantage falling 101-93 to Atlanta.
Arguably the biggest factor in Indiana ripping apart at the seams since March is Paul George and Roy Hibbert‘s offensive struggles, and that seemed to be the story Saturday night once again. George did manage to record 24 points (along with 10 rebounds and five assists), but shot a disturbing 6-for-18. For Hibbert, he didn’t shoot too bad at 4-of-9, but only tallied eight points.
The Pacers as a team shot 42 percent and turned the ball over 15 times, which has been a problem all year long. Making shots was certainly a problem, as no one was able to get in a groove all game long. Indiana did have more team rebounds, assists and steals than Atlanta, but the Hawks made eight more free throws than the Pacers, which made the difference in score when the final buzzer sounded.
Frank Vogel and his coaching staff have a few days to prepare for a big Game 2 where they host the Hawks once again. A starting lineup change, as well as a bench rotation shift could be something Vogel adds to his to-do list before Tuesday, which could be a deciding game in this first-round playoff series.