The first two games of yesterday’s start to the NBA playoffs featured nail biting drama, and led us to believe that the rest of the series we had to watch would go the same way. That couldn’t have been further from the truth, as not only were the final two games on Saturday night stinkers, the first game on Sunday was less of a nail biter and more of a one-sided clubbing.
But while last night’s two late games were blowouts, at least Sunday’s blowout of the Hawks was a thrilling ride for Pacers fans watching in awe of Paul George.
Indiana has been to the playoffs before, but the Pacers haven’t been able to make it past the second round under Frank Vogel’s reign. But when it comes to the Pacers, everyone knew they were a good team it was a matter when, not if, they would take off and spread their wings. That appears to be now, as Indiana couldn’t have dominated the Atlanta Hawks anymore than they did on Sunday afternoon.
The Pacers went bananas from the field on Sunday, with five players hitting double digit scoring marks. Paul George rightfully led the way for the Pacers but his 23 points were closely followed by George Hill’s 18 points and Roy Hibbert’s 16.
But the focus is on Paul George, who posted a postseason triple-double. George’s triple-double on Sunday was just the second of his career, as his first came back in March against the Charlotte Bobcats. Many people view Paul George as the leader of the Pacers and he showed off his superstar ability on the grandest stage of his career on Sunday.
Obviously, this is just one game and no one can draw a conclusion based solely on a single game. But George’s performance ignited the Pacers, which means if he can get hot and stay hot, Indiana might make a serious run in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Indiana did everything right; they out-rebounded the Hawks, they beat them up in the paint and they locked down on defense to hold Atlanta to 90 points. That defensive performance can certainly use some more locking down, but we’ve been waiting for the Pacers to get hot in the postseason and it’s looking like this may be the start of a return to glory for the state of basketball.