2014 NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference: Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks Preview

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By James Patrick Quizon | April 19, 2014 2:01 AM EST

Both the Pacers and Hawks have literally crawled to the finish line at the end of the 2013-2014 NBA regular season. Still, it was enough for Indiana to bag the first seed (over the Heat) and for Atlanta to nail the last spot in the conference (over the Knicks).

Reuters
NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers

The Pacers were pegged to challenge the Heat for the East title but doubts were cast as they struggled in March when they went 8-11 and in April when they went 4-3.

Still, Indiana did enough to get the top seed and is one of the best defensive teams in the league allowing only 92.3 points per game. The Hawks average 101.2 PPG (15th in the league) on 24.9 assists per game—the second best passing mark in the NBA.

Atlanta also struggled in March (6-11) but recovered nicely by April when they had 6 wins in 9 games including confidence-building victories over playoff squads Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and Pacers.

On offense, the Pacers will rely on Paul George (21.7 PPG and 6.8 RPG) and Lance Stephenson (13.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG and 4.6 APG) on the wings and Roy Hibbert (10.8 PPG and 2.2 BSPG) and David West (14.0 PPG and 6.8 RPG) inside the paint.

Meanwhile, the Hawks have Paul Millsap (17.9 PPG and 8.4 RPG), Jeff Teague (16.5 PPG and 7.6 APG) and Kyle Korver (12.0 PPG),

These teams split their season series, 2-2. The Hawks got the win in January with a score of 97-87 and the Pacers got the victories in February to the tune of 89-85 and 108-98. Atlanta won the most recent meeting, 107-88 last April 6.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers
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