What a series it was between the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. The No. 8 seed Hawks almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NBA history had it beaten the Pacers. However, when the time came for the Atlanta to finish them off, they failed to do so multiple times. After stealing Game 5 in Indianapolis to go up 3-2, Atlanta got two chances to end the series, but couldn’t get the job done. The Hawks lost a huge game at home in Game 6, and then followed that up with a poor effort in Game 7.
In fact, with the series on the line, many expected a lot better from this team. They really didn’t show up at all in Game 7, which is sad given the fight this squad showed throughout their first-round match-up with the Pacers. Even Atlanta’s two stars managed to turn in some pretty bad performances. Jeff Teague only scored 16 points on a terrible night shooting the basketball. He went a miserable 5-for-16 from the field, and was really a non-factor for the majority of this game.
Paul Millsap didn’t really help either. He might have recorded a double-double, but you can’t start games the way Millsap did in order to give your team a chance. At one point, he was a pathetic 0-for-9 from the field in the first half, which is not the kind of performance you would expect from your lone NBA All-Star. The Hawks needed him to carry the team last night, but instead he went ice cold at the wrong time. Millsap ended the game by going 6-for-21 from the floor, and it cost Atlanta the win.
Teague and Millsap can’t take all the blame for not finishing off the Pacers, though. Despite not showing up in Game 7, both were terrific for the majority of this series. Their teammates, on the other hand, didn’t step up when they needed to. Pero Antic and DeMarre Carroll failed to show up at all against Indiana. Antic caused fits on the defensive end, but his offense was missing. Same goes for Carroll. He did a decent job on Paul George defensively, yet his offense was nowhere to be found. Atlanta could have used some extra help in order to upset the Pacers.
In the end, the Hawks have no one to blame but themselves. They should have never let this series go to Game 7. If they would have just taken care of business on their home floor, Atlanta wins. You can’t lose two games out of three in front of your own fans at Philips Arena. That’s just not a recipe for success in order to beat the No.1 seed in the first round. When you have a chance to close someone out in your own building like the Hawks did, you have to finish the job, no excuses.