Luis Scola stretched out the Hawks defense

Andy Lyons

The Pacers defense has struggled to handle the Hawks’ big men stepping outside and shooting threes. While Scola doesn’t provide three-point shooting from the power forward position, in game two, the Hawks let him take open jumpers; Scola made them pay.

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.

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On Scola’s first basket, the Pacers ran two cutters through the lane, then gave Paul George a ball screen from Ian Mahinmi.

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This action drew all five defenders into the lane, and George kicked out to Scola for the jumper.

Similarly to what Atlanta did in game one with Jeff Teague and Pero Antic, the Pacers used Scola as the screener in pick and rolls at the top of the key.

Scola slips the screen, and Mike Scott was overly aggressive on Evan Turner, which leads to Scola having enough space.

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.

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