The Pacers loss in Atlanta played out like the last week has for so many local fans in Indianapolis.
First they were buried by a blizzard of points at the start of the game when the Hawks jumped out to a 12-0 lead. Normally a big early lead is no big deal in the NBA, but the Pacers weren't equipped to deal with this storm. Playing their fourth game in five days, the Pacers were missing the one player, Lance Stephenson, with the combo of young legs and energy to give the team a needed jolt.
So after the early blizzard of points from the Hawks, with big men launching threes, the cold set in for the Pacers. Roy Hibbert finished the game 1 for 8 form the field, and by the field I mean, mostly in his wheelhouse around the rim. With Hibbert unable to make the Hawks pay on the offensive end, his defensive impact was minimized by the Hawks dragging their bigs behind the arc. At one point, Hibbert, David West and Danny Granger were a combined 3 for 20. Brrrrrr!
Soon enough, the Pacers had a 25-point deficit and had to begin shoveling to make a path back into the game. As anyone in Indy knows all-to-well, shoveling sucks. It takes so much energy to clear the drive, you don't want to move, let alone drive anywhere when you're done.
That's how the Pacers appeared throughout the fourth quarter after they dug themselves out of the big hole. But they just couldn't make the plays needed get over the hump and turn that 9, 10, 11-point deficit into a six-point difference to really put the pressure on the Hawks.
As the time continued to tick off in the fourth quarter, the Pacers took the form of cars on so many roads and on ramps, stuck spinning their wheels on the snow and ice covered road. They'd back up a little, then try and get over the hill, again but eventually kept getting stuck around the 10-point mark before the Hawks eventually sealed up the W.
It was a tough watch and even a tougher game for the Pacers to play after falling behind early. The only positive is that they pulled out the shovels and put in the effort to dig out of the mess instead of just laying down for the night to deal with the poor play another day.
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