Pacers vs. Hawks Links: Pacers have to execute physical and mental adjustments against Hawks in Game 4

USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers can't play much worse than they did in Game 3, but an improved effort alone won't be enough to beat Atlanta in Game 4.

The Indiana Pacers are in a battle for their collective playoff lives with the Atlanta Hawks heading into Game 4 on Monday night at Philips Arena.

Both teams have held home court in the first trio of games, making the visiting team look as though they had no idea it was a real, live playoff game they were playing. Losing is one thing, but folding under a little pressure on the road made the Pacers look mentally weak in the process.

The blue and gold will need to make plenty of physical adjustments, starting with handling Josh Smith in the post, but their mental approach needs an equally heavy adjustment to get back in the neighborhood of a smashmouth, tough-minded defensive unit.

Now that the Hawks have some life, even a strong effort from the Pacers won't equal a win. Too much talent on the floor for the Hawks if they are ready for the playoff grind. But win or lose, the Pacers have to make an effort to control the grind and remain aggressive, throwing the first punch, so to speak. Paul George? David West? Roy Hibbert? Someone has to stand up and set the tone from the opening tip or the Pacers may be sitting down far sooner than they expected this postseason.

Check out the links:

Game Preview: Pacers vs Hawks, Game 4 | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

NBA Playoffs: Pacers' Paul George has to adjust in defensive matchup with Josh Smith | Indianapolis Star | Indystar.com

W2W4: Pacers’ Hibbert must exorcize Atlanta demons - 1070 The Fan

Bob Kravitz: Why can't the Pacers win in Atlanta? | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com

Pacers Get Back to Basics | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

Pacers-Hawks Preview - AP

Hawks C Petro with wife for birth of child - AP

Atlanta remains kryptonite to Hibbert, Pacers - 1070 The Fan

The Pacers’ Ugly Side | 8 Points, 9 Seconds

Pacers vs. Hawks, Game 3: Change in attitude as key as lineup shuffle - Peachtree Hoops

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