The Hawks do have some things going for them and the biggest is a 13 game winning streak over the Pacers at Philips Arena. Indiana just hasn't been the same team on the road and that has carried over through the playoffs. However, if the Hawks are going continue that streak then they are simply going to have to play much better than in Game 5.
The reoccurring theme of this series is that the home team has clearly been the aggressor and forced the opponent back onto their heels. That was again true in Game 5 and mirrored Indiana's efforts in Games 1 & 2.
The Pacers countered the Hawks big lineup in Game 5 by going inside to David West and Roy Hibbert. Indiana destroyed Atlanta on the boards which helped negate the Hawks' transition game and grinded their offense to a halt.
Larry Drew has talked about his team's energy and effort throughout the season. We have talked about it but I didn't really feel like the Hawks did not play hard in Game 5. I felt like they didn't know what the answer was when Indiana took the fight to them.
For the Hawks to be successful in Game 6 then they must play with confidence and get back to what works for them. That includes going through Josh Smith and Al Horford inside, getting out and pushing the basketball while spacing the floor and shooting a good percentage from downtown. They are going to have to scramble defensively because even the big lineup can be overwhelmed by Indiana's frontcourt.
Even more so this Hawks team has to respond. When they get pushed they have to get back up and respond positively. Too often in this series things have gone the other way.
4/21, Game 1, Pacers 107, Hawks 90 - Game 1 coverage
4/24, Game 2, Pacers 113, Hawks 98 - Game 2 coverage
4/27, Game 3, Hawks 90, Pacers 69 - Game 3 coverage
4/29, Game 4, Hawks 102, Pacers 91 - Game 4 coverage
5/1, Game 5, Pacers 106, Hawks 83 - Game 5 coverage
Game date/time: Friday, May 3, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: ESPN2, SportSouth
Radio: 98.9 FM, NBA Audio League Pass, Sirius XM
Odds: The Atlanta Hawks are favored by one point over the Indiana Pacers in Game 6.