Atlanta saw a golden opportunity slip away in the final moments of Game 6. It's now or never for the Hawks as they face the daunting task of winning another game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Hawks know they have been down this road before. They have won three of their last four games in Indianapolis including the final regular season matchup and Games 1 & 5 in the playoffs. However, they will be trying to capture the first Game 7 win on the road. The Hawks are 0-8 all-time in Game 7s on the road.
There are few tricks left in the bag for either team as both are well versed in what the other is trying to accomplish. For Atlanta pace is one of the most important factors. It played a huge part in erasing a nine point third quarter deficit and turning it into a five point lead late in the fourth quarter. It was also a big factor when that lead slipped away in the final moments as the game once again slowed down to Indiana's liking.
The Hawks need to run to avoid letting the Pacers set the defense in the halfcourt. To be able to run, Atlanta must dig in defensively and once again come up big on the boards.
Frank Vogel went with the same starting lineup in Game 6 but switched up his rotation somewhat in an effort to matchup with Atlanta. Starting center Roy Hibbert played just 12 minutes while Luis Scola was called upon to inbound the ball in the games final seconds. Little used Chris Copeland played 18 minutes in the smaller lineup.
Atlanta got a lift from its bench in Game 6 as Lou Williams scored 16 points but committed a costly turnover late. After emerging as the hero in Game 5, Mike Scott had a mostly forgettable performance save for one thunderous dunk. Scott finished with just four points and was 2-9 and 0-6 from three-point range in Game 6 after making five threes in the second quarter of Game 5.
Speaking of three-point shooting, Atlanta made just 9-of-35 attempts in Game 6. They connected on 15-of-27 in the Game 5 win in Indiana. The Hawks are shooting 36.6 percent from beyond-the-arc in the series and must attack the paint to open up space on the wings for their shooters.
One player that Atlanta could really use to get back on track is center Pero Antic who is averaging just 3.7 points on 19 percent shooting from the field. After being a key cog in Atlanta's attack against the Pacers during the regular season, Antic is just 3-of-22 from three-point range in the series. He has performed reasonably well on the defensive end of the floor matching up against either Roy Hibbert or Ian Mahinimi but any contribution on the offensive floor would be a pleasant surprise for the Hawks.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, May 3, 5:30 p.m.
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
TV: TNT, SportSouth
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM