The series between the Atlanta Hawks and the Indiana Pacers shifts back to Indianapolis for Game 5 all tied up at two games apiece. The Hawks are looking to ride the momentum of back-to-back wins at home by stealing one on the road and setting up a series clinching scenario in Game 6. The Pacers are looking to recap their magic from the first two games of the series and to get back in the win column.
The biggest adjustment in the series to date came prior to Game 3 when Larry Drew elected to go with the big lineup and thus matched Josh Smith on Paul George. Smith was able to control George in Games 3 & 4 and the Hawks' defense received a major shot in the arm. Now the question is can they sustain that improved defense on the road and snap a four-game losing streak in Indiana in the process.
Atlanta's defensive improvement successfully jumpstarted their offense as they were able to get out in transition to create some easy scoring opportunities. One player that saw a substantial improvement in the two games at Philips Arena was Kyle Korver. After going 4-13 from three-point range in the first two games, Korver made 7-11 in Games 3 & 4. He got those shots in a variety of ways off some nice set plays but also off of the Hawks' secondary break when they looked for some early offense before the Pacers' defense was able to dig in.
When Korver is making shots from the perimeter it stretches the defense so the Hawks getting into their offense early in in an effort to get him some good looks in Game 5 is a big objective. Once the defense is stretched it opens up driving lanes for Jeff Teague and Devin Harris while also giving Josh Smith and Al Horford more room to work inside. So much has been focused on the Hawks defensive adjustments in the series but an upset win in Game 5 could rely on Korver and whether or not Atlanta can be successful from the perimeter.
11/7 - Hawks 89, Pacers 86 - Recap
12/29 - Hawks 109, Pacers 100 - Recap
2/5 - Pacers 114, Hawks 103 - Recap
3/25, Pacers 100, Hawks 94 - Recap
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
Game date/time: Wednesday, May 1, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
TV: NBA TV, Fox Sports South
Radio: 98.9 FM, NBA Audio League Pass, Sirius XM
Odds: The Atlanta Hawks are 6.5 point underdogs on the road against the Indiana Pacers in Game 5.