For most of the season Jeff Teague has been the catalyst for the Atlanta Hawks. However, lately it has been a struggle for Teague who finished with just seven points on 3-16 shooting in Atlanta's Game 5 loss to the Pacers. Larry Drew met with his struggling point guard on Thursday to tell him that he still had confidence in him and to hopefully snap him out of his recent funk.
"I told Jeff, I don't want his game to be predicated on whether he's making shots or not," Drew said. "He does too many other things on the floor to impact the game. You see good players who have bad shooting nights, but they do other things to affect the game. That is the mentality that I want him to have."
Teague is averaging 14 points and 5.6 assists per game during the playoffs but is shooting just 35 percent from the field. He hasn't scored more than 13 points since Game 2 and is a combined 10-39 from the field in Games 3-5.
Its no secret that if the Hawks hope to win on Friday and force a Game 7 then they will need a much more solid performance from Teague. During the regular season, Teague set career highs in points (14.6) and assists (7.2) while making 45 percent of his shots. The timing couldn't have been much better given that Teague will enter restricted free agency during the offseason.
Now the Hawks need to see further growth from Teague who has been aggressive in the series but has struggled to finish or get to the free throw line against Indiana's bigger defenders. More so the Hawks and Drew are looking for leadership from Teague who got hit with a technical in Game 5 as he and Paul George exchanged pleasantries on his way to the bench during the second half of Game 5.
Confidence has been a major factor throughout Teague's short career but the Hawks can't afford him to be timid at this juncture. Not with the season hanging in the balance.