Trying to avoid falling in an 0-2 hole before the series shifts to Atlanta, the Indiana Pacers welcome the Hawks in tonight’s 2014 NBA playoffs game on TNT-Sports (national TV) and TNT-Overtime (free live stream). Opening tipoff is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. EST (6:10 p.m. CT/5:10 p.m. MT/4:10 p.m. PT) from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., and will also be broadcast live on Canada’s Sports Net One and locally on FSS.
According to an April 22 report by ABC-News, head coach Frank Vogel is to blame for Indiana’s Game 1 loss. In particular, the coach’s unwillingness to abandon a gameplan when it’s clearly not working is the key factor as to why the Hawks were able to steal home-court away from the top-seeded Pacers.
Indiana must “go small” in order to avoid another disappointing loss, Mike Wells of ESPN suggests, calling Vogel “stubborn” and “set in his ways”. Considering the Hawks exposed Indy’s defense (in the opener) by utilizing the exact same strategy they used to win both of their regular season meetings, the criticism is certainly justified.
In essence, Mike Budenholzer’s offensive gameplan is very simple: Counteract Indy’s size-advantage by spreading the floor with shooters, pulling the Pacers “bigs” away from the hoop where the air is thin. Hence, that’s the reason as to why Vogel must rethink and readjust his scheme/lineup with speedy guys that can close the distance quickly and keep players in front of them.
In the case of the Pacers, as silly as it sounds, this team finds itself in a must-win situation just one game into their first-round 2014 NBA playoff series. According to an April 21, AP report, the fact that Indiana hasn’t won a single game in Atlanta in almost 8 seasons – with the last win coming in Dec. 2006 – makes tonight’s clash crucial.
“It is motivation in that they expect us not to be at that level but that’s it,” said Pacers small forward Paul George. “Regardless, we’ve got to expect more out of ourselves.”
According to NBA oddsmakers, the Indiana Pacers [-7½] come into this game projected to defeat the Atlanta Hawks [+7½] by at least eight points. Can Vogel and company right the ship and avoid what would be a stunning 0-2 deficit? Don’t miss what is sure to be a great game between the Hawks and Pacers.
Tune to TNT’s national TV broadcast at the top of the hour, or simply click on the link provided above for the free TNT-Overtime live stream online. Finally, feel free to leave your predictions for this game in the comments section below: Do the Hawks have the Pacers number in these 2014 NBA playoffs?