With 3:34 remaining in the third quarter, the Pacers 68-65 lead seemed all but safe. Sure, Paul George had just spent the previous 32+ minutes of his life reverting back to the guy we deemed MVP three weeks into the young season, but overall, three points was far from applause-worthy.
Then, the following seven possessions occurred (two of which became turnovers, but forget that part):
West Jump Bank Shot: Made
G Hill Layup Shot: Made
G Hill Running Reverse Layup Shot: Made
Scola Jump Shot: Made
George 3pt Shot: Made
And just like that, Indiana had jumped out to a 79-65 lead. C.J. Watson put forth one of his best efforts of the year, Ian Mahinmi was doing stuff, and the corpse of Luis Scola chipped in a few defining moments. Game, set, blouses. And that doesn’t take into account the ensuing eight points to begin the fourth quarter. So, in turn, a 19-0 run in just over 10 minutes time. Great defense, right? Or, better yet, did the Pacers simply flip that switch every talking head speaks of?
You be the judge. Here are the shots the Hawks received to close that third quarter.
For the record, not one of these shots were made. In fact, only the fourth image gives us a certainty of contention and that doesn’t take into account the two WIDE.OPEN. options during the play. (Also of note: these images don’t display the numerous times Millsap flared to the corner after a set screen, finding himself a good six-feet away from the closest defender.)
The point being, this isn’t a results-oriented affair. I mean, it is, but with home court now in favor of Atlanta, I like their chances. As the narrative continues to state “THE PACERS ARE BACK!”, just be wary that it should actually read “THE HAWKS COULDN’T HIT SHIT!”. Even after that horrid shooting display, Atlanta’s starting-five is shooting 43% from 3-point range and averaging nearly the same amount of possessions per 48 minutes as Indiana.
It’s certainly something to keep an eye on, but for now, I’ll gladly take open looks as opposed to…well…