The Atlanta Hawks picked up one of their most impressive wins of the season on Wednesday evening, throttling the Phoenix Suns at State Farm Arena. That was the third straight win overall for the Hawks and, in recent days, Atlanta has been dominant in their home venue, winning seven consecutive tilts. On the road, however, things have been a little bit more challenging, with the Hawks losing their last three contests, and Atlanta will aim to stop that skid with a matchup against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday.
The Hawks and Pacers are both operating on the second night of a back-to-back, with Indiana losing at home to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. That was the fourth loss in the last five games for Indiana and, on top of that, there are rumblings of discontent both behind the scenes and in plain view for the Pacers.
Pacers are suspending assistant Greg Foster for one game and fining Goga Bitadze for exchange on court Wednesday, sources tell ESPN. Foster and Bitadze have had a strong working relationship this season and that’s expected to continue, but emotions are running high in Indiana.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 6, 2021
Though Indiana is in the No. 9 slot in the Eastern Conference at 30-35, the Pacers are not performing at a level befitting of a playoff contender, at least in recent days. Their last four losses have arrived by double figures and, even when baking in a ridiculous 57-point win over the tanking Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana’s peripherals are not terribly encouraging.
The Hawks and Pacers split their first two meetings, with Atlanta winning the most recent game by a 129-117 margin on Apr. 18. Thursday’s contest also represents the return of Nate McMillan to Indiana for the first time since being let go by the Pacers following the 2019-20 season.
For the fourth straight game, the Hawks will be missing only two players due to injury. De’Andre Hunter (right knee soreness) and Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) remain out of action.
Indiana will be without Myles Turner for the tenth straight game, and the team’s defense takes a severe hit as a result. Elsewhere, Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Goga Bitadze and Edmond Sumner are listed as questionable.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Hawks are six-point favorites in this matchup, illustrating their perceived advantage. Atlanta does have the challenge of travel after an 8:00 pm ET game on Wednesday, but the breeziness of that victory allowed for Nate McMillan and company to avoid taxing key pieces in the second half. From there, the Hawks are simply the better team, and they are playing at a high level as they arrive in Indianapolis.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, May 6, 8:00 pm ET
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
TV: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass (out of market)
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Bally Sports App