Indiana Pacers make it a best-of-three series by tying it up 2-2

Posted by Clevis Murray on Saturday, April 26, 2014 with No comments

Entering Game 4 there was speculation on whether or not Indiana Pacers C Roy Hibbert would start due his consistent struggles. It was a huge debate and Frank Vogel had to put everyone at ease by saying he will start. Most of Atlanta Hawk fans arrived early before tip-off which is a rarity for Atlanta sports teams; despite their team being up 2-1 entering today they seemed dead to start but the energy soon picked up. 

The Pacers started off strong by hitting 2 of their first 3 three-pointers and going on a 8-0 run to start the game all the while not letting Atlanta score until the 9:08 mark on the 1st-quarter on a 3-pointer from the top by All-Star Paul Millsap. Pacers guard Lance Stephenson picked up a technical foul at the 8:11 mark of the first quater as he went crazy and slammed the bench after picking up his 2nd foul. Apparently everyone wants to be like Miami, with Atlanta playing "seven nation army" midway through the first.

The Atlanta Hawks were playing like they were the No. 1 seed as they went to halftime with a 17-7 run. In the second quarter Indiana shot a dismal 25% going 5-for-20 in that period after shooting 67% in the 1st. Guard Evan Turner had his best game of a Pacer in the first half with 11 points and 4 assists on 4-for-7 shooting. Also worth nothing Roy Hibbert had finally a blocked a shot in the series after going three games without one.  

Early in the 3rd period, All-Star forward Paul Millsap exited the game with four fouls and his exit was the difference maker as Indiana went on a 12-0 run. The little things matter in basketball and the Pacers bench actually came to life by standing up in unison watching their team go on a run and actually have positive body language. Also worth noting is in this series the winner of the 3rd quarter would go on to win the game and Indiana won it 24-17. The highlight of the quarter was when guard C.J. Watson threw alley-oop pass from near the 3-point line to a cutting Paul George.

The fourth quarter was off to a great start until Mike Scott and George Hill received technicals at the 5:36 mark. Fans of the Hawks came to life as Pacer forward David West missed two free-throws which would've tied the game up at 85 at the 2:41 mark. West would then come back by nailing a surprising 3-pointer at 1:33 to make the score 89-85. 

"They over played Paul [George] and he just steeped back and shot it," Pacers Head coach Frank Vogel said.

There's a dubious theme going around in the NBA and especially in the playoffs with fouling 3-point shooters. Hawks guard Kyle Korver was fouled by David West on the attempt, but unlike everyone else he didn't get a 4-point play. He would go 2-for-3 from the line but Indiana had a Kane violation thanks to Luis Scola and he would go on to make that free-throw at 1:24 making the score 89-88.

Kyle Korver not noted as a defender caused a deflection on Lance Stephenson which led to a jump-ball and Stephenson deflecting it out of bounds as he went against DeMaree Carroll for the tip.

Paul Millsap went for two as he did a spin-move against David West but missed. Few possessions later and Paul George missed two important free-throws with 7.5 seconds leaving the Hawks on their last heartbeat as Carroll go the rebound and called for timeout with 6.9 seconds left.

The last possession for the Hawks ended up with Pero Antic taking the 3-pointer over George Hill but missed to force OT (looked like he was fouled). Indiana has made it a best-of-three series preventing the Hawks from going up 3-1 and making it 2-2. 

"There defense on the last possession was good and we didn't get a good look," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

Paul Millsap had a career-high 29 points but it wasn't enough as his team struggled.

"We just need to get more efficient offensively and better execution offensively," Budenholzer said. "But if we could compete like we completed tonight then that's what were looking for

MVP: Paul George stepped up his play with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assist on 10-for-18 shooting.

Key Stats: Indiana had 13 more fastbreak points and shot 12.4% better than Atlanta

Game Notes: Inside the NBA crew didn't bother talking about the first half as they talked about the impact of Donald Sterling... Roy Hibbert had 6 points and 3 rebounds in 24 minutes.

Arena: Phillips Arena
Referees: Scott Foster, Bill Kennedy, Pat Fraher
Attendance: 19, 043

Game 5 is Monday in Indianapolis.