Indiana Pacers (37-10) at Atlanta Hawks (25-21)
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Tip: 7:30 p.m. EST
TV: Check local listings
Line: IND -3.0
Coming off an expected win last night at home against the deflated Orlando Magic, 98-79, the Indiana Pacers are set to take on the Atlanta Hawks on the second night of a back-t0-back.
Philips Arena in Atlanta has not been kind to the Pacers. Aside from a playoff series last season in which Indiana was determined to oust the Hawks in the first round, the Pacers have not won a game in Atlanta since 2006. That’s a long time.
Atlanta has already defeated the Pacers once this year at Philips Arena, so the good news is this is the last time Indiana plays there this season, barring a second straight playoff matchup. The Hawks are a solid team, however, so it is no fluke that Atlanta has been able to handle business against the Indiana Pacers for a number of years.
On paper, the Hawks lineup presents challenges for Indiana. Kyle Korver is a nightmare defensively as a sharpshooter and one known to historically shoot well against the Pacers. Jeff Teague of the Hawks and George Hill of the Pacers is always a fun matchup to watch, both being Indiana natives – Pike High School and Broad Ripple, respectively.
Down low, Paul Millsap has outstanding capabilities on offense. He can step out and shoot or post-up around the basket. Very similar style as David West of the Pacers, so we’ll see how that plays out tonight.
For Indiana, tonight should be about attacking. Paul George and Lance Stephenson must shoot out of the gates on offense if the Pacers want to leave with a victory. I would enjoy the second unit picking up where they left off against the Magic on Monday night when they scored 49 points, matching the scoring total from the starting five.
Although the starters should be rested due to a blowout against Orlando, I give Atlanta the edge tonight. Until the Indiana Pacers prove that they can win at Philips Arena, then advantage Hawks. Atlanta wins 100-94 (I hope I’m wrong).