Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks: Postgame Grades and Analysis
In a performance that shifted the momentum of the series, the Atlanta Hawks upended the Indiana Pacers, 102-91, in Game 4 to tie the series 2-2.
Josh Smith's 29 points and 11 rebounds spearheaded the Hawks' attack, as he imposed his will in the paint and on the perimeter. He was supported by a hot-shooting night from Kyle Korver, who connected on five triples and notched 19 points.
Indiana made a third-quarter run that kept them within striking distance for most of the contest, but Paul George's playmaking wasn't enough to mount a comeback
It's a whole new series as the competition heads back to Indianapolis for Game 5.
Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks: B
A superb first half by floor general Jeff Teague helped the Atlanta Hawks get off to a good start.
He facilitated in the pick-and-roll, committed no turnovers in the first half and took advantage of opportunities to push the ball.
In the second half, he wasn't as sharp offensively, but he made enough plays down the stretch, limited his mistakes and knocked down five of six free throws to help pad the Hawks' lead.
George Hill, Indiana Pacers: C-
He was perfect from the free-throw line and maintained a healthy assist-to-turnover ratio, but George Hill was largely outplayed by Atlanta's backcourt in Game 4.
A huge reason for Hill's subpar grade is his power outage from long distance. Hill went 0-of-6 on three-point attempts, most of which were from the top of the key.
If just a couple of those triples fell, Indiana would have been much closer down the stretch, and it could have been a much different fourth quarter.
Devin Harris, Atlanta Hawks: B
If you just look at the numbers (eight points, six assists), it would be easy to say Devin Harris had a much worse game than Lance Stephenson or his backcourt comrade, Jeff Teague.
However, Harris played a vital role in establishing the pace and tempo of the game, as he attacked in transition and gave Atlanta some momentum, literally.
He sat for the first few minutes of the second half because he was dehydrated, and he committed five fouls, but I would take more positive than negative from Harris' performance. A plus-22 point plus/minus margin tells the story.
Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers: B+
He finished with just 10 points, but Lance Stephenson was one rebound and two assists shy of a triple-double.
An aggressive approach in the second half led to several scoring opportunities for Indiana. Almost all of his points came via slashes in the paint.
Unfortunately, his defensive efforts weren't enough to slow down the Hawks' onslaught.
Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks: A+
Due to Larry Drew's big starting lineup including Al Horford and Johan Petro in the post, Josh Smith started at small forward and played the No. 3 slot for much of the game.
He was by far the most aggressive offensive force on the Atlanta Hawks, taking 20 shots and dropping 29 points on the Pacers. Smith got Paul George in foul trouble, along with several other Pacers.
Supplementing the offense was a steady diet of rebounds and active hands on defense. He was easily the most valuable player for Atlanta in this contest.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers: B+
While Paul George was extremely quiet in the first half (three points), he heated up in the second half after asserting himself and crashing the glass. His spot-up triples in the fourth quarter helped keep Indiana in the ballgame.
The two factors limiting his effectiveness were foul trouble and turnovers. George picked up some early fouls, which kept him on the bench for seven minutes in the first half, and he also coughed up four turnovers on the night.
George's versatility was on display in Game 4, but not quite to the sparkling level we saw in Games 1 and 2. His late production and 21 points ended up being insufficient to spark a successful comeback.
Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks: B+
Although he wasn't a monster on the glass, and he got into a little foul trouble that kept him on the bench early in the second half, Al Horford's outing can be classified as a "solid game."
Even though his playing time was halted, he remained heavily involved in the Hawks' offense by knocking down mid-range jumpers, working the pick-and-roll and even dishing a couple of nice assists in transition.
With 18 points and four assists, Horford was the second-most impactful offensive weapon for Larry Drew.
David West, Indiana Pacers: C+
It was not a banner night for David West, who had to labor for the 15 points and six rebounds he posted.
His shooting performance was underwhelming (5-of-14), and the physicality of Atlanta's frontcourt had a lot to do with it.
West is too valuable to Frank Vogel's club to register mediocre numbers like this, especially in the rebounding department. His focus in Game 5 should be crashing the offensive boards.
Johan Petro, Atlanta Hawks: B+
Welcoming his first child into the world was undoubtedly the highlight of Johan Petro's day, so it feels weird giving him anything other than an A+.
However, his contributions weren't quite all-star caliber, although he did grab eight rebounds and got the Hawks' offense going in the first quarter.
Defensively, he held his ground and kept Roy Hibbert in check. Atlanta would love a duplication of that throughout the rest of the postseason.
Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers: C+
As usual, Roy Hibbert was a factor on the offensive glass for the Pacers. But he didn't go crazy and impose his will in the paint.
In fact, his five fouls were more influential than his 14 points.
Hibbert shot a tidy 6-of-11 from the field, but he was overwhelmed by the aggression of Josh Smith and Al Horford.
Ivan Johnson, Atlanta Hawks: C
Finishing with more turnovers and more fouls than shot attempts isn't an ideal scenario for a key reserve.
But that's the way it went for Hawks forward Ivan Johnson, who never really got into the flow of the game and missed the only close-range shot he took.
Although he was largely unproductive for most of the night, his redeeming moment came in the final minute of the game, when he secured a key rebound and connected on a pair of free throws to seal the victory.
Tyler Hansbrough, Indiana Pacers: D
Early in the first half, Tyler Hansbrough was able to provide exactly what Frank Vogel needed: energy and power.
He entered the game and made his presence felt with a couple of strong finishes but wasn't much of a factor for the rest of the contest. Atlanta's activity on both ends was able to negate Hansbrough's efforts.
In order to reclaim control of the series, Indiana needs a whole lot more from "Psycho T," who finished with five points and a minus-10 plus/minus margin for Game 4.
Atlanta Hawks: B+
The story for the Atlanta Hawks bench was Kyle Korver. He was essentially another sixth man for Larry Drew because of the big starting lineup.
Korver found his touch early in the game by running off curl screens and burying in-rhythm jumpers. He hit a game-high five three-pointers, something that Indiana was desperately hoping to avoid.
Other bench efforts included Anthony Tolliver's trio of triples to boost Atlanta's attack whenever it got stagnant.
Indiana Pacers: D
Even though only three Hawks bench players scored in Game 4, they outshone the Pacers' reserves.
Indiana's high reserve scorer was D.J. Augustin, who dropped eight and provided a little spark in the middle of the game. But he was ineffective in facilitating or defending, as evidenced by his minus-15 point margin.
The Pacers bench supplied just 19 points, which is not a recipe for victory for any team. That puts an inordinate amount of pressure on the starters to produce.