A look at what some others are saying about the Hawks-Pacers playoff series.
TNT analyst Charles Barkley: The good thing about Atlanta is they’ve got a great airport here so, after the first round of the playoffs, they will be able to get (away for) a really great trip somewhere.
TNT analyst Kenny Smith: (They Hawks are) not a team looking to win a championship … (they’re) in a no-man’s land of the NBA.
NBA.com: This has all the feel of a series where the Hawks will steal a game in Indianapolis, then give one back at home before a tossup the rest of the way. The Pacers, though, have been utterly discombobulated lately while falling behind by 20 points or more in six straight games.
Israel Gutierrez, ESPN.com: The Pacers lost five of their last six in the regular season and allowed the Knicks to snatch the 2-seed. So they went from the biggest threat to the Heat to the biggest question mark among the top four East seeds.
But the Pacers can rediscover themselves rather quickly — especially against a Hawks team that doesn’t present any major matchup problems.
Paul Forrester, SI.com: The Pacers’ game plan is built for the slower pace of the postseason, but the roster has enough youth to adjust to an opponent that wants to run. The Hawks are almost an accidental participant in these playoffs, built to be torn down but composed of enough talent that they are better than most of the East teams in the midst of rebuilding. That talent will make the series interesting, but Indiana’s motivation to build on last year’s postseason makes the difference.
Leo Sepkowitz, SLAM magazine: The Pacers ranked first in opponent field-goal percentage and opponent 3-point percentage, and second in points allowed per game this year. They were also in the top-five in offensive and defensive rebounding, leading to a plus-5 nightly boards differential — best in the league.
This certainly doesn’t seem like an ideal matchup for a Hawks club which averaged a middle-of-the-pack 98 points while getting outrebounded by nearly three boards per game this season.
Indiana closed the season by dropping five of its final six games. Not exactly the positive momentum teams search for before the playoffs, but Atlanta isn’t thriving right now, either. They’re 2-5 in their last seven. Nothing like a playoff battle between two cold teams with average offenses!