NBA Playoffs 2013: Hawks have no answer for Paul George in Game 1

USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks decided to go with the small starting lineup and Paul George made them pay with a triple-double and win in Game 1.

One of the major unknowns coming into Game 1 between the Atlanta Hawks and the Indiana Pacers was what lineup the Hawks and head coach Larry Drew might go with. Drew elected to go with the small lineup which matched up Kyle Korver against Paul George from the start. The results didn't work out well for the Hawks as George dominated the game from the free throw line in a triple-double performance.

"My teammates were able to make shots and I was trying to rebound the ball," George sasid. "I said for this playoff run I'm leaving everything on the floor. I know as a team what is expected of me now. I want the pressure. I'll do whatever it takes. I don't want to be known as a scorer or defender. I want to be a ballplayer."

The Hawks had success early in the season with a big lineup that featured Zaza Pachulia at center and with Josh Smith and Al Horford deployed at the forward positions. With Pachulia out with an injury, Larry Drew didn't have that luxury in the third meeting between the two clubs. In that game the Hawks went small with Horford at center and DeShawn Stevenson at small forward. Drew tried to go big in the fourth and final meeting by inserting Johan Petro in the center position and former Pacer Dahntay Jones at shooting guard. Neither worked as the Hawks lost both meetings in Indiana.

Stevenson and Korver got the bulk of the minutes matched up against George on Sunday who went just 3-13 from the field but was 17-18 from the free throw line finishing with 23 points.

Possible adjustments that Drew could make include giving Dahntay Jones a shot at defending George in place of Stevenson. Drew could also elect to go big with Petro at center and let Josh Smith guard George from the outset. Another way to get Smith matched on George would be to leave Horford at center but start Ivan Johnson in what could be the Hawks most physical front court combination.

The physical aspect can't be overlooked because the Hawks got beat handedly on the boards and spent much of the day complaining about calls that never came on the offensive end. Its a tough situation when a team has a 34-14 advantage in free throw attempts but you must still play through it.

It looked like the Hawks rattled in the third quarter and the TNT broadcast captured Pacers head coach Frank Vogel telling his team that he sensed Atlanta was on the verge of being knocked out. The knockout punch wouldn't come until the fourth but it was clear that the Hawks were rattled by the Pacers' physical nature and that must be addressed before Game 2.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Peachtree Hoops

You must be a member of Peachtree Hoops to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Peachtree Hoops. You should read them.

Join Peachtree Hoops

You must be a member of Peachtree Hoops to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Peachtree Hoops. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker