In the regular season the Atlanta Hawks ranked 14th in the NBA by allowing 104.1 points per 100 possessions. Atlanta is the second worst defensive team in the Eastern Conference that made the playoffs.
But this has all been forgotten because the Indiana offense was pitiful in game one. Sure the Hawks are a matchup problem for the Pacers defense, but the Pacers are supposed to be making the Hawks pay on the other end of the court. And as a team, the Pacers failed to do this for six quarters.
But in the second quarter of game two, Luis Scola burned Atlanta. He matched the Hawks basket for basket, and kept Indiana afloat.
So how’d he do it? Mid-range jumpers that Atlanta was allowing him to shoot.
This action drew all five defenders into the lane, and George kicked out to Scola for the jumper.
In the third quarter, the Pacers ran one of their favorite plays, which you can see here. It is a flex screen for a wing (George Hill in this case) to post up. That’s followed by a flare screen for the other wing to get a three at the top of the key.
As Scola sets that flare screen for Paul George, Paul Millsap takes one extra step to help on George, and that is enough room for Scola to hit the jumper.
Indiana can’t expect to get 20 points on 9 of 14 shooting. He was 0 of 6 in game one. David West possess a similar skill set for jumpers, but Atlanta was more aggressive taking that away Tuesday night.
But Indiana can’t rely on its power forwards to beat Atlanta on mid-range jumpers. The third quarter was promising. But it all comes down to making an average defense pay for being average.
Here’s all of Scola’s highlights from game two.