There’s a trend going on in these playoffs. In the opening two games both the Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors won on the road. The Atlanta Hawks kept the streak alive as they beat the number one team in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers, in Indiana 101-93.
The size mismatch is what most experts predicted the Hawks would have troubles with. Roy Hibbert is 7’2 and David West is 6’10. Atlanta was not a good rebounding team during the season, as they finished in the bottom third of the league. Hibbert and West could easily out rebound the likes of Paul Millsap and Pero Antic, but apparently none of those four got the memo.
The game changed in the midst of a third quarter run that saw the Hawks take over the game, Antic channeled his inner Zaza Pachulia as he and David West exchanged many words (and probably spit) face to face after play got a little physical. This proved to fire up the Hawks as they outscored the Pacers in the quarter 30-16.
Another reason for Atlanta’s third quarter success was Jeff Teague taking over scoring 14 points in his return to his hometown. Teague is arguably Atlanta’s only beneficial mismatch as George Hill just couldn’t stop him.Teague finished with 28 points.
As great of a team effort the Hawks put together, Game one’s Hawks MVP has to go to Hibbert. To say he was inefficient would be a huge understatement. He was atrocious, he was horrible, and he should have never showed up.
Hibbert only scored eight points (six came in “garbage time”) in nearly 30 minutes. He had as many rebounds as he did turnovers and personal fouls. He had zero blocks (was blocked twice) and his presence wasn’t felt in the paint, on the floor, or even in the state for that matter.
To add insult to injury for Hibbert, a second quarter Kyle Korver block had the internet buzzing. The 6’7 Korver, who is seven inches shorter than Hibbert, swatted a Hibbert layup attempt.In the fourth, Korver blocked Hibbert again.
Overall, a great team win for Atlanta, but they can’t really count on the Pacers being this bad all series. They will have to make sure they don’t get too comfortable, because the Pacers will come back hungry for game two.
Next up for the Hawks is game two Tuesday night in Indiana. If the Hawks could manage to pull off another upset, they would have the entire basketball world sitting on edge as they return to Atlanta for games three and four.