Indiana wins series 4-3 (Game 1 of 7)

Indiana wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Game 2: Tuesday, April 22nd
Game 3: Thursday, April 24th
Game 4: Saturday, April 26th
Game 5: Monday, April 28th
Game 6: Thursday, May 1st
Game 7: Saturday, May 3rd

Hawks 101

(38-44, 14-27 away)

Pacers 93

(56-26, 35-6 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    7:00 PM ET, April 19, 2014

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    ATL 28 22 30 21101
    IND 22 28 16 2793

    Top Performers

    Atl: J. Teague 28 Pts, 3 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Ind: P. George 24 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 4 Stl, 2 Blk

    Hawks take 1-0 lead as Pacers' late-season swoon continues

    Associated Press

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Atlanta's Jeff Teague demolished the Pacers' grand playoff plan.

    As his teammates set up around the 3-point line, Teague simply blew through open lanes to the basket repeatedly.

    The Pacers didn't have an answer.

    Teague scored a playoff career-high 28 points, Paul Millsap added 25 and the eighth-seeded Hawks won their first road playoff game in three years, shocking top-seeded Indiana 101-93 to take a 1-0 lead in the first-round series.

    "I just wanted to win," the Indianapolis native said after beating his hometown team.

    Perhaps that's why Teague finally cracked a hesitant smile in the locker room before stepping to the podium.

    Or it could be that Teague remembers the frustration Indiana caused when it clinched last year's 4-2 first-round win on Atlanta's home court. As one of the few remaining links to that team, Teague wasn't about to let something like that happen again.

    This time, surrounded by a mostly new group of 3-point shooters, a first-year coach and a game plan that the Pacers never adapted to, Teague kept getting to basket.

    He wound up 9 of 19 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free throw line with five assists and three rebounds on a night the Hawks snapped an eight-game road losing streak in the playoffs and became the first team to beat Indiana on its home court twice this season.

    Atlanta won its first road playoff game since Game 1 of the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals at Chicago, and they'll have a chance to do it all again Tuesday in Game 2 before the best-of-seven series moves to Atlanta, where the Pacers have won only two times since December 2006.

    "I think getting off to such a good start against such a good team is important," coach Mike Budenholzer said after his fifth win in six games. "It's really not something we talked about. They're the No. 1 seed for a reason."

    Meanwhile, the Pacers' stunning struggles showed no sign of abating.

    Indiana was just 5 of 19 from the field in the decisive third quarter and shot just 35.6 percent in the second half, a 24-minute span in which it spent most of the time trying to dig out of a double-digit hole.

    Paul George had 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while Lance Stephenson finished with 19 points and seven rebounds and George Hill added 12 points.

    But the Hawks' ability to spread the floor essentially nullified All-Star center Roy Hibbert, who had eight points and eight rebounds, and David West, who had eight points and three rebounds.

    And Indiana wasted no time in giving back the home-court advantage it spent the entire season chasing.

    "It's frustrating. It's frustrating, but it's a long series," George said before explaining he believes the Pacers can regain the upper hand -- if they figure out how to defend better. "It's just one game and that's the way we have to look at it."

    That won't be easy against this team.

    Atlanta set a franchise playoff record with 30 3-point attempts and matched the franchise's second-highest playoff total for 3-pointers made (11). Both were set May 10, 1996, when the Hawks were 12 of 27 on 3s in a 26-point loss to Orlando.

    "I thought our ball movement was great," Kyle Korver said after scoring 12 points. "That's one of the things we've tried to play to all year and tonight it kind of worked out."

    They made it look easy, too.

    Korver's buzzer-beating putback, following an Indiana turnover in the closing seconds of the first half, tied the score at 50.

    Atlanta then opened the third quarter with eight straight points and when the Pacers rallied to get within 60-58, Teague and Millsap took control.

    Millsap opened the decisive 14-0 run with two free throws. Teague followed that with a driving layup, his only 3 of the game, another layup and two free throws. And when Millsap ended the run with a three-point play, the Pacers trailed 74-58.

    They couldn't even cut the lead to single digits until Stephenson's 3 made it 99-91 with 33.6 seconds left and by then it was too late for the league's best home team to rally.

    "All year, we've encouraged Jeff to be aggressive," Budenholzer said. "When he's aggressive, it just creates opportunities for himself and opportunities for his teammates."

    And headaches for everyone else.

    Game notes

    Atlanta made eight of its first 12 shots in the third quarter. ... Indiana hasn't reached the second round of the playoffs in consecutive years since 2003-04 and 2004-05. ... The Game 1 winner has won each of the five previous playoff series' between Atlanta and Indiana. ... Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll has 12 points and 10 rebounds.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Research Notes

    Roy Hibbert has not shot well for the Pacers leading into the postseason, and continued to be a non-factor in Game 1. Hibbert was 4-for-9 from the floor Saturday and has not made a shot outside the paint since April 4 (0-for-13 in six games).
    After the game was tied at halftime, the Hawks broke it open in the third quarter, outscoring the Pacers 30-16. Twelve of those thirty points came in the paint on 6-of-9 shooting (8-of-18 for 16 points in the paint during the rest of the game).
    Things haven't been the same since Danny Granger was traded on February 20.
    Jeff Teague scored 20 of his game-high 28 points on drives Saturday. Teague averaged 5.6 points per game on drives during the regular season.
    Kyle Korver scored 10 of his 12 points on catch-and-shoot shots Saturday. Korver was third in the NBA this season on catch and shoot shots, averaging 8.4 points per game.
    From Elias: 137 teams in NBA history entered the All-Star Break with a win percentage of .700 or better, including the Pacers this season (.769). Among those teams, only 4 registered a worse post All-Star win percentage than Indiana, who went 16-14 after the break. None of those 4 teams made it to the Conference Finals.
    The Hawks and Pacers might be seeded on opposite ends of the spectrum, but they've been playing quite similarly as both have gone 12-13 dating back to March 1st. Indiana was allowing a league-low 94.2 points per 100 possessions through February but that number has ballooned to 102.8 since the beginning of March.
    The 8th-seeded Hawks went 38-44 in the regular season. Since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1983-84, teams that entered the postseason with a sub .500 record are just 2-40 in playoff series. The 1986-87 SuperSonics (.476 win pct) were the only team to win a series, defeating the Mavericks in the First Round and Rockets in the Conference Semifinals.
    It would be historic if Indiana or Miami turned things around and went on to win the NBA title. The Pacers went 12-13 over their last 25 games while the Heat were just 11-14. Only 2 teams in NBA history finished with a sub .500 record over their last 25 games of the regular season and then went on to win the title (1957-58 Hawks and 1994-95 Rockets).

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