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Pacers heavily favored to tie up series Tuesday
By: Brian Graham - StatFox
Published: 4/22/2014  at  5:19:00 AM
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NBA Playoffs - Eastern Conference First Round
Game 2 - Atlanta leads series 1-0
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Line: Indiana -7, Total: 187

After an embarrassing Game 1 loss on Saturday, the heavily-favored Pacers will seek payback in Tuesday's Game 2 versus the Hawks.

The two teams were tied at 50-50 after two quarters in the series opener, but Atlanta went on a 44-24 run to start the second half and held on for the 101-93 victory. The good news for the Hawks is that they didn't even play their best game, making only 43% FG, getting outscored 38-28 in the paint and recording just 13 assists and 12 turnovers. But Indiana made just 42% FG and 70% FT, and its three guards combined for a minus-22 rating. Atlanta is now 7-2 SU (8-1 ATS) in its past nine games, and improved to 15-27 SU (18-22-2 ATS) on the road this season. But having two days off in between games doesn't suit the Hawks very well, as they are a dismal 5-15-1 ATS (25%) with at least two days' rest this season. The Pacers are a subpar 6-10 SU (4-12 ATS) in their past 16 contests, but even with the Game 1 defeat are still 35-7 SU (21-20-1 ATS) at home this season. They are also much better with long layoffs, going 13-7-1 ATS (65%) with at least two days' rest, but are surprisingly only 12-13-1 ATS when coming off an SU loss this season. Atlanta has now won two straight games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, both this month, but Indiana still has a 7-3 SU mark (5-4-1 ATS) when hosting in this series over the past three seasons, with nine of those 10 games going Over the total. The teams have split 18 games overall in this same timeframe, with the Hawks holding the slight 9-8-1 ATS advantage. Both teams have negative betting trends for Game 2, as the Hawks are 4-14 ATS (22%) when playing four or less games in 10 days this season, while the Pacers are 10-27 ATS (27%) in the second half of this season versus teams who make 6+ threes per game. There are no new injuries for either club, as Atlanta is still without PF Gustavo Ayon (shoulder), while Indiana is still missing C Andrew Bynum (knee).

Atlanta used its one-two punch of PG Jeff Teague (16.5 PPG, 6.7 APG) and PF Paul Millsap (17.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.7 SPG) to get a leg up in this series. Teague did a great job of driving to the hole with a game-high 28 points on 9-of-19 FG and 9-of-10 FT. He also dished out five assists and recorded a +8 rating. He will have to dominate George Hill again for his team to pull off a second straight upset. Millsap finished Game 1 with 25 points (7-of-17 FG, 9-of-11 FT) and eight rebounds, despite having zero offensive boards. Part of that had to do with SF DeMarre Carroll (11.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG) attacking the glass for five offensive rebounds, finishing with a double-double of 12 points and 10 boards, plus a game-high +10 rating. SG Kyle Korver (12.0 PPG, 47% threes) also pitched in with 12 points on 5-of-12 FG in his 34 minutes of action, which wasn't too far off from his 14.0 PPG on 65% FG (10-of-20 threes) versus Indiana during the regular season. C Pero Antic provided muscle in the paint with eight points, seven boards and a +8 rating in his 28 minutes.

Even though he suffered a quad contusion, SF Paul George carried the Pacers in Game 1 with 24 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks. This performance was even better than what he had done during this season series, when he tallied 22.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 3.3 SPG. But the rest of Indiana's frontcourt played terrible, as C Roy Hibbert (10.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.2 BPG), PF David West (14.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG) and reserve PF Luis Scola (7.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG) combined for just 18 points on 8-of-25 shooting (32%) with 11 rebounds. All three will need to be much more aggressive on both ends of the court for the Pacers to win comfortably in Game 2. Their backcourt played pretty well though, as SG Lance Stephenson (13.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.6 APG) and PG George Hill (10.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.5 APG) combined for 31 points (13-of-26 FG), 10 rebounds and five assists, but posted a minus-19 rating. Hill needs to focus more on stopping the penetration from Teague, while Stephenson has to be more unselfish, as he took 18 shots, but tallied just one assist and two turnovers. SG Evan Turner (14.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.2 APG) was the lone bright spot off the bench for Indiana, as he finished with nine points, seven rebounds and three assists in just 18 minutes.

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