Paul George put it all together on Sunday (Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS — Just three years removed from the since-vetted scout hype that labeled him as perhaps the finest product in the 2010 NBA draft, Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George used his significant all-around gifts to lead his squad to a 1-0 advantage in his team’s first-round series with the Atlanta Hawks. The Pacer swingman notched a triple-double (23 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists) in the 107-90 Game 1 win, Indiana’s first postseason trip-dub since current Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson notched one nearly 15 years ago, while providing the needed spark in an odd game that Atlanta just didn’t seem up for.
The Pacers struggle offensively, ranking 20th out of 30 NBA teams in offensive efficiency during the regular season (the second-lowest mark amongst the 16 playoff squads), but Atlanta’s defense allowed quick hits and good positioning in both the first and third quarters as the Pacers compiled a surprising 60 points during that combined turn. The Hawks also were a step slow on their rotations, leading to a series of hacks around the basket that allowed Indiana to take 34 free throws in the win, a huge boon to a Pacer team that struggles to top 80 points on some nights.
Worst of all was the malaise that the Hawks seemed to be working through. Larry Drew’s team did well to start with an inside-out attack early on, a surprising sight considering that Atlanta started two point guards in Jeff Teague and Devin Harris, but by the second half the Hawks just weren’t up to trying to counter Indiana’s significant defensive pressure.
And nothing typified this more than George’s play, when Indiana’s actual plays broke down.Read More »from The Indiana Pacers grab a 1-0 series lead over Atlanta, as Paul George notches a triple-double