Jeff Teague scored a playoff career-high 28 points, Paul Millsap added 24 and the Atlanta Hawks stunned the Indiana Pacers, 101-93, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Saturday night, taking a 1-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
The Hawks got off to a quick start, jumping out to an 18-9 lead, but the Pacers battled back and eventually took a six-point edge in the second quarter. However, Atlanta surged late in the period to tie the game at 50 heading into halftime.
That was when things unraveled for Indiana.
The Hawks dominated the second half, leading by as much as 20 at one point. Not only could the Pacers not score, but they also couldn't get stops, as Teague and Millsap tore apart their vaunted defense for the final 24 minutes.
"He's up there with Derrick Rose, John Wall and Russell Westbrook. His speed is elite." - Paul George on Jeff Teague— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) April 20, 2014
"We've gotta do a better job of containing these guys...I think we're fine once we find a way to eliminate them from spreading us out." - PG— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) April 20, 2014
Indiana shot only 42 percent from the floor and went only 16-of-23 from the free-throw line.
Can't remember the last time a home team was booed in Game 1 of the playoffs.— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) April 20, 2014
The Pacers are entering dangerous territory with this Game 1 loss.
Pacers are the 4th 1 seed to lose to an 8 in Game 1 since 2003. The last 2 times that happened (2011 and 2007), the 1 seed lost the series— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 20, 2014
Game 2 is Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
Key Player Grades
Paul Millsap, Power Forward
Paul Millsap really took it to Roy Hibbert and David West up front, utilizing his ability to create off the dribble and using his deft footwork to smoothly operate in the post.
Also, he did an incredible job of pulling Indiana's bigs away from the basket with the threat of his three-point shot (he made two).
Millsap finished with 24 points off 7-of-17 shooting, making a living at the free-throw line by going 9-of-11. On top of that, he hauled in eight rebounds.
Awesome effort for Millsap.
Jeff Teague, Point Guard
Jeff Teague was nearly unstoppable in this one.
The lightning-quick floor general got into the paint at will, blowing by George Hill and company on the perimeter and finishing around the rim with impunity.
Teague also drew contact when he got into the lane and made it count, going 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.
The Indiana native scored a playoff career-high 28 points off 9-of-19 shooting. He added five assists and three rebounds as well.
Teague is going to be a big problem for the Pacers all series, and Indiana head coach Frank Vogel desperately needs to address it.
Kyle Korver, Shooting Guard
The Hawks made it a point to get Kyle Korver plenty of touches early, and while he didn't exactly light it up from three-point range (he went 2-of-7), the attention that he drew was more than enough to throw Indiana's defense out of whack.
Korver's ability to spread the floor made Teague's job considerably easier, as the Pacers knew they had to account for Korver as an outlet on the perimeter.
Korver also had a huge putback off an offensive rebound as the halftime buzzer sounded, tying the game up at 50.
The sharpshooter finished with 12 points and five boards.
DeMarre Carroll, Small Forward
This was an impressive effort by DeMarre Carroll.
The unsung wing tallied 12 points and 10 rebounds (five on the offensive end) and played some spectacular defense on Paul George, using his length to force the Pacers star into difficult shots. He also bodied him up on drives and made it nearly impossible for him to get a clean look.
Carroll went 4-of-7 from the floor, knocking down a pair of triples.
If he plays like this all series, Atlanta has a great shot.
Pero Antic, Center
Everyone said coming into this series that Pero Antic would be a matchup problem for Hibbert, and you saw why in Game 1.
Antic spent a good portion of the game out on the perimeter, as Hibbert had to deal with the possibility of Antic firing away from downtown. The Macedonian made a couple of threes in this contest, going 2-of-5 from deep.
"When we have Pero making threes and Paul making threes, we're a tough team to beat." - Jeff Teague— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) April 20, 2014
Antic ended with eight points and seven boards and played some good, physical defense, enough to get a rise out of West, which led to a short altercation.
Nice playoff debut for the 31-year-old rookie.
Lou Williams, Sixth Man
Lou Williams is the type of volume scorer who can explode at any moment. Game 1 against Indiana wasn't one of those times.
Williams was very quiet in his 18 minutes, scoring only six points off 1-of-3 shooting. He also committed a very silly clear-path foul on Paul George in the first half.
Williams made all four of his free throws, but he was also hit with three personal fouls in his limited action.
Shelvin Mack was solid in his 14 minutes, recording eight points off 3-of-7 shooting, drilling a couple of threes. He also handed out three dimes.
Elton Brand may not have scored, but he did grab five boards in 20 minutes and played some solid defense, blocking three shots and contesting others.
Mike Scott chipped in two points on a nice transition bucket.
Atlanta's reserves didn't put up gaudy numbers, but they got the job done.
Paul George, Small Forward
George labored throughout this game.
Yes, the All-Star scored 24 points, but he did it off 6-of-18 shooting and looked uncomfortable all night with Carroll up in his jersey.
Paul George: "It's frustrating but it's one game. It's a long series. Just need to better prepare for the next one."— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) April 20, 2014
George was able to draw some contact and get to the charity stripe, where he went 9-of-12, but the horrific shooting really took a toll on his team.
George filled out the rest of the stat sheet nicely, tallying 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals, but Indiana needs a more efficient performance out of its best player.
Roy Hibbert, Center
Things just keep getting worse for Roy Hibbert.
The All-Star made little to no impact on this game, registering only eight points and eight rebounds. Six of those points came when the contest was essentially decided. He shot 4-of-9 from the floor and turned the ball over four times in 30 minutes.
It's hard to really diagnose exactly what is going on with Hibbert. Is it confidence? Does he have an injury he isn't telling anyone about? Or is it that he just flat-out stinks right now?
Whatever it is, he needs to correct it—and fast. The Pacers may not even beat the Hawks if he doesn't rectify his issues.
David West, Power Forward
Hibbert wasn't the only member of Indy's frontcourt who struggled in Game 1.
David West was virtually non-existent, scoring eight points off 4-of-10 shooting. He didn't try to assert himself down low, seeming content to fire up 18-footers.
West also hardly made a dent on the glass, grabbing only three rebounds.
He did dish out four assists, and while that's nice and all, that's not what West is there for.
Lance Stephenson, Shooting Guard
Lance Stephenson may have been the best player on the floor for the Pacers in this game.
The enigmatic 2-guard scored 19 points off 8-of-18 shooting (3-of-6 from distance), and he had a stretch in the second quarter where he got Indiana back into the contest by getting to the basket and knocking down some shots off the dribble.
Stephenson also grabbed seven rebounds.
He didn't get to the free-throw line, though.
George Hill, Point Guard
George Hill was decent on the offensive end in the loss.
He scored 12 points off 5-of-8 shooting, staying within himself and not trying to do too much. That's essentially how Hill always plays.
Defensively was another story, though.
Hill was absolutely shredded by Teague, displaying an inability to stay with the Atlanta guard whenever he drove to the basket.
As a result, Hill posted a minus-17 plus/minus rating.
Luis Scola, Sixth Man
Talk about laying an egg.
Luis Scola put forth a miserable outing in this one, going 0-of-6 from the floor and grabbing only two rebounds in 19 minutes. The biggest contribution he made on the stat sheet was his three fouls, and that's never good.
When Indiana traded for Scola, he was expected to represent a veteran presence that could provide a lift for the team in the playoffs.
He didn't do that in Game 1.
Evan Turner was one of the few bright spots for the Pacers in this game, posting nine points and seven rebounds off the bench. He shot 4-of-6 from the floor and did a solid job of keeping the offense under control when he was on the floor.
Ian Mahinmi contributed five points and six rebounds, three of them on the offensive end. He was also a plus-five in an eight-point loss. How about that? Funny thing is, Indy's offense definitely looked crisper with Mahinmi on the floor than Hibbert.
C.J. Watson hit a pair of threes for six points in 16 minutes.
Overall, a solid effort by the Pacers' reserves. Too bad the starters stunk it up.