If you are a fan of the Indiana Pacers, the last 24 hours have likely drastically changed your opinion on this series. Heading into Game 5 of the NBA playoffs, the Pacers had the Momentum after regaining home court advantage and coming home to play in front of their fans. The struggles had obviously been there but you could see the team making some small steps and that they felt confident they could finally start to piece the puzzle together.
In a series where the games have usually been decided in the third quarter, the Atlanta Hawks essentially put the game to rest in just the second quarter when they outscored the Pacers 41-19. Bench perimeter scoring from Hawks players Shelvin Mack and Mike Scott fueled this run and they never looked back. As the boos rained down from the rafters of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, I like many other fans could not believe what I was seeing. For the last month it seems whenever there is a hint of confidence in them to perform well they do just the opposite. On the other hand, when belief is that they will fold and lose, like what many thought was the case for Game 4 of this series, they somehow pull it out. This team is a mystery and their play in this year’s playoffs has held true to that.
Thursday night I expect Pacers coach Frank Vogel to makes some serious changes, from overall minute distribution to even the starting lineup. We could begin to see this Monday with the way the second half rotation was handled, which included 20 minutes from fan-favorite Chris Copeland. This team is more talented than the Hawks, but nonetheless they are now in a do-or-die situation. They have to show their best hand and it may have been put best by Vogel himself when he was asked about making possible changing for Game 6 saying, “I’ll consider everything at this point.”