Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks: Postgame Grades and Analysis
Some good home Georgia cooking was all the Atlanta Hawks needed to get back into their first-round series with the Indiana Pacers. A 90-69 win pushed the series to 2-1 in favor of Indiana.
The Hawks sent a message with their big victory, letting the Pacers and the Eastern Conference know that they are far from done.
Al Horford had a career night in the paint, going for 26 points and 16 rebounds. Josh Smith added 14 points, six assists and six rebounds. It was an all-around effort for the Hawks, in their decimation of the Pacers.
David West was the lone bright spot for Indiana, though he had extreme difficulty in getting his 18 points and six rebounds.
The Hawks get another home game on Monday night, to see if this was just a fluke. If it isn't, then we could be in for one long series between these two teams.
Let's hit the Bleacher Report classroom and see how everyone graded out in the Atlanta Hawks' big home win.
Jeff Teague, ATL PG: C+
Jeff Teague was the beneficiary of some stellar play from his teammates in the frontcourt.
On top of covering for his 4-of-15 night from the field, they provided him with great outlet passes to kick off fast breaks. From there, Teague deftly carried those transitions out, making the right decisions attacking the rim or distributing.
Teague's final numbers looked alright, but it was a long night for him. His 13 points, six rebounds and five assists were inflated by some late-game piling.
George Hill, IND PG: D-
The George Hill who averaged 20 points per game in the first two Indiana Pacers wins of the series was nowhere to be found in Game 3.
Hill must have left his offense in Indiana, as he shot just 1-of-8 for three points. He missed all three of his three-point attempts and did little else for Indiana.
Hill needs to be a better leader from the point guard position, especially when the Pacers are on the road in hostile environments.
Devin Harris, ATL SG: C
For a starter on a team that dominated as much as the Atlanta Hawks did in Game 3, Devin Harris had a rather forgettable game.
He fell off after a very good performance in the Game 2 loss. He was unable to hit from outside the paint, going 2-of-11 overall and missing all three from beyond the arc.
Harris made up for his lack of offensive production with tight perimeter defense. He and Jeff Teague did a pretty solid job at riding their man into help defense.
Lance Stephenson, IND SG: D
Lance Stephenson has entered a bad shooting slump at the wrong time for the Indiana Pacers.
They need every ounce of offense they can squeeze out of their starting lineup, and Stephenson is not carrying his weight. He needs to hit from the corners of the perimeter, but in Game 3, he was just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Stephenson went 1-of-7 overall, for four points. He did grab eight rebounds, but all were light defensive boards.
Paul George, IND SF: B
Paul George battled hard, but he was visibly struggling with the force that was Josh Smith in Game 3.
Smith got the best of him on multiple occasions, working around his usually stout defense for easy chances at the rim. George uses his defense to really key his offense, and they work in flow with each other. Smith was able to instill doubt on that end, which wrecked the rest of his game as well.
George fought hard offensively, getting the line eight times, but nothing came easy. He worked as hard as anyone for his 16 points and nine rebounds. Unfortunately, that came at the cost of five turnovers and a blowout loss.
Josh Smith, SF: B+
Josh Smith enjoyed the return home to Atlanta as much as anyone.
Smith got the drop on George a few times early on, treating him like a revolving door in the paint. From there, he was able to get everything else going into a rhythm throughout the first half.
Unfortunately, he picked up three quick fouls at the start of the second half, giving him four overall and forcing him to the bench for much of the third quarter. That really threw him off his game for the rest of the half.
Given the way he started, Smith finished with a pedestrian 14 points, six rebounds and assists.
David West, IND PF: A-
Frustrations built throughout the first half for David West.
He was unable to get things going offensively and eventually took exception to the Hawks' physical defense. He picked up a flagrant foul for shoving Al Horford in the second quarter.
He did finally get his offense back as the game went along, but by then, it was too late. West finished with 18 points and six rebounds. He started shooting pretty poorly, but wound up 7-of-14.
Johan Petro, ATL PF: B-
It was a light night for Johan Petro, but he gave the Atlanta Hawks a solid filler for the starting unit.
Petro took nothing off the table in his 14 minutes. He was 3-of-4 for six points and four rebounds.
Al Horford, ATL C: A+
This might go down as one of the signature performances in Al Horford's playoff career.
He was able to do anything he wanted against the Indiana Pacers defense and was key in getting Roy Hibbert into foul trouble. That really opened up the paint for Atlanta, and Horford started wreaking havoc. He was 9-of-13 in the painted area and 12-of-20 overall.
Horford's work on the defensive end, protecting the rim, really helped key the Hawks' fast-break offense as well. For that to be the case, his rebounding and outlet passing had to be on point.
His final line was 26 points and 16 rebounds. If Horford can continue this play, the Hawks will have a good chance at running this series the distance.
Roy Hibbert, IND C: C
When Roy Hibbert plays less than 30 minutes against this level of competition, the Indiana Pacers defense really suffers.
Hibbert didn't play with great body control, picking up his third foul on an offensive charge in the first half. From there, he was forced to miss large chunks of crucial time. He finished with just 24 minutes played, and his absence in the paint was noticeable.
The offense wasn't there early for Hibbert, but he scored his first six points of the game in the opening minutes of the second half. Things looked to be turning around for him and his team, but then another foul struck and his rhythm was disrupted again.
Hibbert's final line was eight points and nine rebounds.
Kyle Korver, ATL SF: C+
Kyle Korver came off the bench hot for the Atlanta Hawks.
He hit his customary pair of threes, scoring six points in 29 minutes.
Korver was a noticeable hole defensively, but for the most part, he was able to direct his man toward the help defense inside.
Tyler Hansbrough, IND PF: C
The job of Tyler Hansbrough is to come off the bench and provide energy across the board,
He was entirely unable to do that in the first half of Game 3. By the time Hansbrough figured something out, it was far too late. He finished with six points and nine rebounds, but most of which came in garbage time.
Atlanta Hawks Bench: B
Ivan Johnson was huge for the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3.
He was able to enter and seamlessly continue the great defense set forth by the starting frontcourt. With the second unit, Johnson posted seven points and seven rebounds.
Anthony Tolliver hit a pair of treys to make his minutes worthwhile, also registering seven points.
Indiana Pacers Bench: D
Garbage time were the only minutes for the Indiana Pacers to shine in Game 3.
Gerald Green registered 10 points and had a solid game given expectations.
Unfortunately, Jeff Pendergraph, Orlando Johnson and D.J. Augustin shot a combined 0-of-14.