Atlanta (7-3) comes into Indiana this evening as a hot shooting team. To the contrary, Indiana (6-3) has not been hot, and I know that is an extreme understatement.
Atlanta is shooting 45 percent as a team, and 40 percent from behind the three-point line.
Indiana is shooting 40 percent in both field goals overall and from behind the three-point line.
In order for Indiana to not duplicate their performance from two nights ago in Philly, they are not only going to have to shoot better, but they are going to have to make the Hawks miss more shots.
Indiana has had their opportunities to step up against the likes of Miami and Philadelphia, but lost both contests. To their credit, they were able to handle the Celtics in Boston, but the jury is still out on what type of team the Celtics will end up being.
We all know and understand that Miami is most likely the one seed going into the playoffs, and Indiana was torched by the Heat in their one opportunity to play them this year.
Atlanta played Miami twice this season, posting a 100-92 victory on Jan. 2nd and losing a tight overtime contest to them on Jan. 4th.
Without consistent shooting, Indiana has been defined by their defense. As their defense goes, so goes the Pacers.
Who will win tonight's contest?
Danny Granger—out for Monday's contest in Philadelphia with food poisoning—is listed as day-to-day, but it isn't a stretch to think he will play tonight given he practiced this week when the team returned to Indiana.
George Hill is also as listed as day-to-day with a back injury. With his injury more nagging than Granger's, he will most likely be a game-time decision.
This is the first of three matches these two teams will play against one another in this lockout shortened season.
Last year, Atlanta proved to be a tough night for the Pacers as the Hawks took three of four from them.
Atlanta is led in scoring by Joe Johnson (16.9 PPG) while Indiana is led by Granger (14.9 PPG) though, a solid performance by Roy Hibbert (14.3 PPG) tonight might change that.
Tip-off for tonight's game is 7:00 PM EST.