Indiana wins series 4-3 (Game 7 of 7)

Indiana wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Game 2: Tuesday, April 22nd
Game 3: Thursday, April 24th
Game 4: Saturday, April 26th
Game 5: Monday, April 28th
Game 6: Thursday, May 1st
Game 7: Saturday, May 3rd

Hawks 80

(38-44, 14-27 away)

Pacers 92

(56-26, 35-6 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    5:30 PM ET, May 3, 2014

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    ATL 23 13 27 1780
    IND 24 23 24 2192

    Top Performers

    Atl: P. Millsap 15 Pts, 17 Reb, 4 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

    Ind: P. George 30 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    Hawks-Pacers Preview

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Paul George spent much of Friday worried about whether he'd be suspended for Game 7 against Atlanta.

    Not a chance.

    Less than an hour after wrapping up practice, an NBA spokesman confirmed in an email to The Associated Press that league officials reviewed the tapes from Thursday night's altercation and determined none of the players who stepped onto the court would be punished for the decisive game of this first-round series.

    It was no surprise to the Pacers.

    "We're planning for him to be here until we're told he's not going to be in there," coach Frank Vogel said shortly before the decision was made public. "I think he stayed in the vicinity of the bench."

    Players who leave the "vicinity" of the bench during a fracas can be suspended under league rules.

    Few, including Stu Jackson, the league's former disciplinarian, expected that to happen with George, who took two slow, short steps onto the court before he was pushed back by assistant coach Popeye Jones. Jackson wrote on Twitter that he didn't expect the league to suspend George, Indiana's best player and an All-Star starter.

    Losing George would have been a major blow to the Pacers' comeback hopes.

    George has topped 20 points in all six games, has double-doubles in five of them and has been the one Pacers' defender able to slow down quick, shifty Hawks guard Jeff Teague. And it was George and David West who saved the Pacers season with a late Thursday night in Atlanta, too.

    All the league's best regular season home team must do now to reach the second round and avoid the distinction of becoming the sixth No. 1 seed in league history to be eliminated in the first round is protect its home court. Lately, that's been a problem.

    "My thing is that three of the last four times we've played these guys (in Indy), they built 20-point leads and beat us pretty good," Vogel said. "So I don't think anyone from this team can think we're going to be OK just because we're back home."

    The eighth-seeded Hawks understand.

    They had a chance to wrap up the best-of-seven series at home and rallied from a nine-point deficit in the third quarter to take a five-point lead late in the fourth. Yet they still lost.

    "We've responded well all year when we've been in difficult situations," coach Mike Budenholzer said Friday. "Part of our response is going to have to be better execution. I think we have a lot of positive reference points from all year. Our group has been very good and very resilient. I have a lot of confidence in our group."

    But this is going to be different.

    The Pacers, who spent all season chasing the Eastern Conference's top seed, expect a raucous crowd for the first Game 7 to be played at home in the franchise's NBA history. Plus, they appeared to find a defensive solution to Atlanta's spread offense by going small in Game 6.

    The Hawks, meanwhile, have only a day to adjust to Vogel's new rotations and are on their own historic quest.

    A win Saturday would give Atlanta the distinction of having the fewest regular-season wins (38) of any second-round team since Detroit's 36-win team beat Milwaukee in the first round of the 1976 playoffs, according to STATS.

    "We've won on that floor before, so we know we can do it," Teague said. "We just have to go out there and do what we do and play our style of basketball, and it will take care of itself."

    George has plenty of motivation after a stressful week that included ceding home-court advantage for the second time in the series, losing his 2014 All-Star ring in a burglary that took place while he was playing Game 5, two elimination games and speculation that his 24th birthday celebration might be marred by the announcement of a one-game suspension.

    There's only one thing that really would help him relax -- getting a second straight win and setting up a second-round date with Washington.

    "Now It's about getting it done," George said. "We should be ready for this moment."


    Research Notes

    Roy Hibbert is 4-5 on FGA 10 feet and in so far. In the first 6 games, he was 9-26 on such shots.
    At halftime, Paul George has been much more efficient offensively attacking the basket.
    Pero Antic is shooting 3-24 (12.5%) on 3-pt FG this series.
    The Pacers' net efficiency was +24.6 when Roy Hibbert was on the court in Game 7. In the previous six games it was -9.3.
    Paul Millsap was 9-20 (45%) with Roy Hibbert as his primary defender in Games 1-6. In the 1st half, Millsap was 0-5 with Hibbert as his primary defender.
    After his early-series struggles, Roy Hibbert scored 13 points, including shooting 5-7 on field goals attempts inside 10 feet.
    Hibbert improved his performance on the defensive end Saturday. The Hawks shot 3-15 with Hibbert as the primary defender, including 3-12 by Paul Millsap. Millsap had shot 9-20 (45%) with Hibbert as his primary defender in Games 1-6.
    The Pacers held the Hawks to 30.4% shooting Saturday, the third-worst shooting performance in a Game 7 in the shot-clock era. The Hawks especially struggled in the paint, shooting 15-of-37.
    The Hawks attempted 11 3-pt FGA in the 1st quarter, tied for their third-most in the first quarter this season (inc. playoffs). The Hawks attempted 12 in the 1st quarter (tied for most) in Game 6 against Indiana.
    The Pacers held the Hawks to 2-14 shooting in the paint in the 2nd quarter, including that huge block from Mahinmi heading into halftime.
    Paul George scored a series-high 30 points Saturday, 14 of which came on midrange jumpers. George was 7-of-11 on midrange shots after shooting 17.2% on such shots in the previous 6 games.

    ESPN Stats & Information