The Indiana Pacers need to put the sloppy end of the season behind them in a hurry and assert themselves along with their formidable defense in Game 1 against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Hawks are missing some depth and will be playing small which gives the Pacers a chance to control the style of play, but that will require a league-leading defensive effort that can handle Al Horford and Josh Smith around the rim while accounting for Kyle Korver and the speedy guard tandem of Jeff Teague and Devin Harris on the perimeter.
Patient offensive execution will also be critical for the Pacers. Ball movement for clean looks inside and out in the half court while pushing the ball in transition at every opportunity is the way the Pacers win. That means minimizing the stagnant offense which settles for perimeter shots.
For more on the Hawks, check out Peachtree Hoops. Also, leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.
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