Pacers vs Hawks Game 6 preview: Atlanta focuses on closing out Indiana

Andy Lyons

The Atlanta Hawks aim to close out the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night, as the two teams battle in Game 6 of their first round playoff series.

The moment has arrived.

The Atlanta Hawks return home for a Game 6 match-up against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night, and with the backing of their home fans at Philips Arena, Mike Budenholzer and company will look to close out Indiana in route to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. With all of that at stake, however, the top-seeded Pacers will inevitably perform as a desperate team with their backs against the wall, and that should make for an incredibly entertaining face-off.

In Game 5, the Hawks finally (and mercifully) broke out of a prolonged shooting slump with 15 threes and off-the-charts efficiency, but Thursday will provide a difficult task. Roy Hibbert played only 12 minutes in Game 5 (including none in the final stages), and it appears that Frank Vogel has chosen to go with his quicker, smaller lineups to counteract Bud's strategies on both ends. With that, there isn't a defined "weakness" for the Indiana defense on the perimeter, and that could make for some more challenging shot opportunities.

On the other end, the Atlanta defense played extremely well in the first half on Monday, but after the break, the massive lead shriveled, and that was helped by some porous defense. Paul George has been the only consistent offensive option for Indy in the series, and that will likely continue despite yeoman's work from DeMarre Carroll, but keeping guys like George Hill, Lance Stephenson and CJ Watson under wraps will be critical from a perimeter defense standpoint.

Up front, the Hawks were able to win the rebounding battle for the first time in the series in Game 5, and while that isn't a requirement, it is essential that Atlanta can hold its own on the glass in order to avoid extra opportunities for the flailing Indiana offense. Individually, it will be interesting to see how Budenholzer handles the front-court rotation from a playing time standpoint, as Pero Antic (6 for 30 from the field, -1.3 PER in the series) has struggled mightily and the Hawks went to a very small lineup for much of the stretch run.

Philips Arena should be rocking to the tune of one of the loudest and most raucous crowds in recent memory, but in the end, execution is king, and the Hawks will need to play at or near their best to vanquish the Pacers. Let's go.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Thursday, May 1, 7:00 p.m.

Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

TV: NBATV, SportSouth

Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM

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