Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Four

Critical Game 5 for Pacers, Hawks. If anybody cares to watch.


What is the standard perception of the Atlanta Hawks vs. Indiana Pacers series? The NBA TV series (that’s where Game 5 will air Thursday)? I’m not just talking casual fans, I mean among basketball people?

Check out this exchange with Tony Parker, via the San Antonio Express News.

“I watch every game,” he said. “I’m a student of the game. I love watching the games. The playoffs, all the games are really good. You can always learn something.”

Even Atlanta-Indiana, widely regarded as the dud of the first round?

“Except that one,” he joked. “I turned that off.”

Thing is, it’s the closest first round series so far — 2-2, although every game has been decided by at least 11 points.

It just hasn’t been captivating television. The Pacers were in control of the first two games on their home court, when it shifted back to Atlanta Josh Smith was knocking down threes and the Hawks won a couple.

Let me try to entice you to watching this game with this sentence:

The team that wins Game 5 will win the series.

The key to Game 5 will be how the Pacers adjust to Johan Petro. Sort of. Larry Drew put Petro in the starting lineup for Game 3 and while he hadn’t been impressive (10 points in two games combined) it changed the matchups — Al Horford was now guarded by David West, and Josh Smith was matched up on on Paul George. For the last two games in Atlanta, the Hawks won those matchups and won the games.

Frank Vogel, the ball is in your court to adjust.

The Pacers need to win Game 5 — as a franchise they have struggled in Atlanta (13 straight losses now) and they don’t want to have to break that streak in Game 6 to stay alive. Indiana needs to get back to being the team that attacks, and gets the ball inside. They need a big night from Roy Hibbert.

The Hawks need to play like the Hawks at home, not the team that often settles for jumpers on the road.

Really, both of these teams settle when they struggle. So watch points in the paint, watch and see who is taking jumpers and you’ll see the team about to lose.

Well, that is if you watch at all.

Sixers’ Wilbekin hits game-winning three vs. Cavs (VIDEO)

Scottie Wilbekin
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LeBron James sat out the Cavs’ preseason game against the Sixers on Thursday night, but Cleveland still held the lead for all but the final 5.4 seconds. Then, Sixers rookie Scottie Wilbekin did this:

Wilbekin, who played college ball at Florida, has a chance to earn legitimate minutes for the Sixers this season as they try to find young talent on the cheap. This is a good start.

Derrick Rose’s eye still swollen, will rejoin Bulls Monday

Derrick Rose
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Eight days ago, Derrick Rose had surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone suffered in training camp. The Bulls said he would be ready to resume basketball activities in two weeks, and in the meantime will rejoin practice soon. That part is still on schedule — head coach Fred Hoiberg says Rose will be with the team when they return to Chicago on Monday following a two-game preseason road trip, but unless the swelling in his eye dies down, it could be a little longer before he can start practicing again.

Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

It’s not ideal, but since there’s no structural damage to Rose’s face, once he’s cleared to resume practicing, it’s just a matter of getting back into game shape before he can start playing in games. The team is still optimistic he’ll be able to play opening night against the Cavaliers on October 27.