If the Atlanta Hawks really want to upset the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs, then Game 4 is a must win. Indiana is a team on the ropes right now, and this next contest provides Atlanta with the perfect opportunity to deliver the knock out blow. A Hawks win would give them a 3-1 series lead, and if you thought the heat was on the Pacers before, just wait until you see the chaos that would ensue following another loss.
The Pacers would implode. All of the energy would be taken out of them. Larry Bird will have steam coming out of his ears to the point where he finally loses it, and gets rid of everybody starting with Roy Hibbert. If players were fighting among each other before the playoffs even started, I can guarantee the locker room won’t be a pleasant place after another defeat to Atlanta. Lance Stephenson might even walk out and never put on a Pacers uniform again despite the fact a Game 5 remains.
However, the key here is if Atlanta wins. Now is not the time to let a team like Indiana get any kind of momentum back. One big victory on the road, and who knows what could happen? After all, this is still the same team that controlled a 33-7 record at one point to start the year. Give the Pacers a glimmer of hope, and the Hawks are asking for trouble. All of the poor body language and lack of effort they have showed so far could change in an instant.
Hopefully, with Jeff Teague leading the way and Paul Millsap by his side such a thing won’t occur. Teague has been a force in this series, and I see no reason why he can’t continue to dominate the Pacers. They really have no one who can match up with his quickness at the point guard position. Indiana already tried Paul George, and everyone saw how that worked out in Game 3. Teague went off for 22 points and 10 assists.
The same goes for Millsap. Hibbert and David West are struggling to stop the power forward from anywhere on the court. Whether it be in the post or from the outside, Millsap has been a beast who is averaging 19.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game against Indiana so far. If he and Teague continue to play well, Atlanta should have no problem capturing Game 4 and upsetting the Pacers in this series.