The Atlanta Hawks needed to protect their home court yesterday. Letting the Indiana Pacers steal a game at Philips Arena was one of the worst things the Hawks could possibly do in this series. Atlanta had the perfect chance to go up 3-1 with a win, but failed to execute down the stretch and ended up losing a close one 91-88 to the Pacers. With the series now at 2-2, Indiana couldn’t be happier.
The Hawks had all the momentum in the series up until Game 4, and with a victory, they really could have put the Pacers away. Instead, the loss allowed for the momentum to shift right back in favor of the No. 1 seed, which is the complete opposite of what the Hawks needed to happen right now. This is especially true when you consider the fact that Game 5 will be played back on Indiana’s home floor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. You know the Pacers are ecstatic to get out of Atlanta with a 1-1 split, and take their chances in front of their own fans.
A golden opportunity was missed by the Hawks yesterday. They could have taken control of this series with a win. However, when they needed to be at their best during crunch time, they didn’t deliver at all. Even Paul Millsap, who scored 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds in an outstanding performance, cost the team dearly at the end. He had a terrible turnover with 33 seconds remaining when the Hawks were only down three points. On the final play, Millsap also should have either taken the 3-pointer or passed it to Kyle Korver instead of giving it up to Pero Antic.
He doesn’t deserve all of the blame, though. His teammate Jeff Teague didn’t have his best game either. Teague only recorded 14 points on a poor 5-for-15 shooting from the field after dominating the Pacers in this series so far. Atlanta really needed their floor general to perform late in the fourth quarter, too. He had some awful turnovers down the stretch when the offense needed to be at its best, and it really cost the Hawks a chance at victory.