After losing game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Heat in Miami last year, the Indiana Pacers made it their top priority to get home court advantage in the Eastern Conference. Although they struggled down the stretch, losing eight of their last 13 games, they were able to secure the east’s best record and thus secure home court advantage.
After one game in the 2014 postseason, they have lost that advantage in their first round series.
Behind 28 points and five assists from Indianapolis native Jeff Teague, the Atlanta Hawks rolled to a 101-93 victory over the Pacers on Saturday.
After a closely contested first half that saw the two teams all even at 50 apiece at the break, Teague and Paul Millsap absolutely took the game over in the third quarter. The two combined to score 27 of the Hawks’ 30 third quarter points (with the other three coming on a DeMarre Carroll three-pointer) and helped hold the Pacers to just 16 points. The Hawks pushed the lead to 20 in the fourth quarter and cruised to victory (although the Pacers made the game seem closer than it was in garbage time).
Millsap finished with 25 points and eight rebounds.
The Pacers were led by Paul George, who had 24 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals, but he had his struggles as well. George had trouble shooting (he was six-of-18 from the field) and he was taken to the locker room for a brief stretch with what the Pacers called a quad contusion.
Lance Stephenson added 19 points and and seven rebounds while Roy Hibbert, who played the best basketball of his career in the 2013 postseason, had just eight points and eight rebounds.
Game 2 is Tuesday night at 7:00 pm EST and is on TNT.