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.
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