Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks - 4/19/14
Atlanta Hawks (38-44) at Indiana Pacers (56-26)
NBA Basketball: Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)
The Line: Indiana Pacers -7.5 -- Over/Under: 186 See the Latest Odds
The Indiana Pacers collide with the visiting Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of the opening round of the NBA playoffs.
Not many are people giving the Atlanta Hawks any chance in this series, but I think they could make things interesting. I guess it all depends on which Indiana squad shows up, the one that looked like the best team in the NBA for the first half of the season, or the one that limped into postseason action losing nine of their last 15. While we all know what the Pacers are capable of, here is my case for the eighth-seeded Hawks.
Atlanta looked good against the Pacers in the regular season, splitting their games at two apiece. Those two victories came by an average of 14.5 points and their last win came in Indiana just a couple of weeks back, when the Hawks held the home team to just 23 first-half points. Atlanta was up 30 at half time in that contest, just think about that for a second. The Hawks also coming into tonight's game in good form, having won seven of their last 10.
Another interesting fact is that ATL was 2-0 against the Pacers this season when center Pero Antic played. The sweet-shooting rookie averaged 17 points against Indiana in those two games, which were his highest mark against any team, oddly enough.
Let's be honest, all the pressure is on the home team in this one. The Pacers might turn it around, but I just don't think it's that easy. The Hawks should have plenty of confidence from that last meeting and I think their three-point shooting it going to be an issue for Indi, especially is Antic continues his ways from the regular season. A blowout wouldn't surprise me, but I think Atlanta can keep this close enough...
Dan’s Pick: Atlanta +7.5
Follow me on Twitter @Dan_SCP
USA TODAY Sports