Tonight, the Atlanta Hawks looked like a good team going against an opponent whose nearly flawless and fundamental play wouldn't allow a hot shooting Hawks team back into the game. The Pacers took a 2-0 series lead as they soundly defeated a Hawks team 113-98 in a game which wasn't even as close as the final score indicates.
The fall out of the game happened fairly quickly for the Hawks.
Indiana closed the first quarter on a 16-4 run to take nine-point lead into the second, pending a Roy Hibbert (seven points, two assists, two rebounds in first quarter) buzzer-beater which was given video review. The 7'2" center nailed a triple.
It was that kind of night for Indiana. The Pacers would go on to play even more dominantly as the bench erupted int the second quarter, helping them build an 11-point lead before a late bucket by the Hawks to make it nine at the half.
The shot was ruled as good, and the tone set for a blowout of the sixth-seeded Hawks. Atlanta found Indiana's suffocating defense to be enough, committing five first-quarter turnovers which led to three Pacers' points.
Overall, the Pacers had too much energy and their defense was intense enough to fend off Atlanta, despite a well-played game by the Hawks. The Pacers could have built a 20-point lead if they had managed to find Korver quicker in transition.
The fact that Korver missed a few of those looks is unusual for the sharpshooter actually.
The Pacers would continue to out hustle the Hawks while shooting 47 percent from the floor. Frank Vogel has taken a squad of rather average talented offensive players and led them to an above average offense.
Vogel's Pacers took a 2-0 series lead because of their depth and balance, and their bench's play tonight was instrumental in the Pacers victory.
Paul George told NBA TV that the bench is "just as important as the starting five."
These game grades reflect the Most Improved Player's praise of his teammates. He set a new playoff career high with 27 points, and the Pacers are showing they must be mentioned in the same breath as the New York Knicks as true threats to the Miami Heat.