2014 NBA Playoffs: For Hawks and Pacers, it's all about Game Three

Andy Lyons

Not sure you know this, but the Hawks stole a game in Indiana....now the playoffs begin.

Worry not about the Game Two loss by the Atlanta Hawks in Indianapolis. The damage had been done and the Pacers, like the men they are, fought back and got even.

Except they didn't get even. No, to get even means that they have to come into Atlanta and take one back from the Hawks. To get even means they have to take back the home court advantage from the Good Guys. Nothing was lost in Game Two that had been gained in Game One.

As nice as it would be for the Pacers, amidst all the sudden plans of total reorganization (the ridiculousness seemed to span from jettisoning their excellent coach to inserting a silent Q into their name), to have forfeited the series to the Hawks and gone home to weep, this is still a 1 seed vs. 8 seed matchup and there will be plenty to settle on the court.

As for the Hawks in Game Two, they fought hard until they couldn't make a shot. For a team that shoots so many perimeter shots as a part of their arsenal, going cold is part and parcel of that package. It doesn't always go for as long a stretch as was the Hawks downfall in Game Two, but there it is. And, as much as we would like to believe that the Hawks are like video game bots, and would never stop doing what was successful in Game One, the Pacers defense made it harder and the Hawks strayed.

Role players always play better at home, so it's no surprise to see someone like Luis Scola emerge from the bench and singe the Hawks. The Hawks should get even, bench-wise, as they come home, where Volume Shooter Mike Scott can express himself as he does to a more friendly audience. It's amazing how a change in the venue can raise a game as such.

Speaking of the venue, the crowd factor needs to be huge in favor of the Hawks, not just on Thursday night for Game Three, but the 2pm EST start to Saturday's Game Four as well. The Hawks could be in the fabled catbird's seat should they hold their serve in those two games, and a raucous crowd there to cheer them on is just the sort of soundtrack needed to accompany such a quest. Such things should make it an unfriendly environment for their guests and for the officials as well.

We've talked on Twitter about needing to fill Philips Arena  --  to lock out the Pacers fans. If the ATL can lock the Pacers out of the arena, the Hawks can lock the on-the-court Pacers out of the win column and take a 2-1, then 3-1 lead in this series and be that close to doing something that hasn't happened since 1987, when the Seattle Supersonics were the last sub-.500 team to win a playoff series.

It all starts with Game Three. If the Hawks continue to attack, hit their shots, put pressure on the Pacers to defend, and put the panic back into the Pacers, it should be a real good time. Nothing that was gained in Game One was lost Tuesday night -- the action begins on Thursday.

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