Apr 19, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward David West (21) is pushed by Atlanta Hawks center Pero Antic (6) in game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Atlanta defeats Indiana 101-93. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs: Hawks' Pero Antic says 'I can't back down' from Pacers

Atlanta Hawks center/forward Pero Antic is a bit of a league antithesis to the norm. He’s a 31-year-old rookie in the NBA, but has 14 years of professional basketball experience.

And now he’s the Indiana Pacers problem.

Antic, who hails from the Republic of Macedonia, wasn’t bothered by all the elbows and bodies flying around in the Hawks game one win over the Pacers. In fact, it made him feel quite at home according to a report from IndyStar.com.

On playing in the European basketball circuit:

“It’s much more risky, more dangerous to be on the court. You can get hit by stuff, in your head, but it’s OK. They throw rocks and chairs. We like it.”

The 6-11 Antic wasn’t afraid of matching up with the Pacers’ Roy Hibbert, nor did he mind going nose-to-nose with Indiana tough-guy David West, chalking up himself (and West) a technical foul for the confrontation and smack-talk.

“I cannot back down,” Antic said. “It’s playoff time, and I’m not the kind of person that’s gonna make trouble, but I cannot back down. “(West was) using the elbow throughout the game. He was warned by the referee, and he continued to provoke me. Maybe if I was younger, I would’ve acted differently. But I’m an experienced player and my team needed me.”

The eight-seed Hawks cruised to a 101-93 win over the top-seed Pacers in a game that had many questioning not only Indiana’s cohesiveness as a team, but their toughness as well. Antic and the Hawks know that every game isn’t going to shouldn’t be that easy, and he’s prepared to take whatever punishment the Pacers feel they need to dole out to get the upper hand.

“When you come to the playoffs, you cannot be satisfied with the first game, even if you win it,” he said. It’s a long series, and we’re playing against an incredible team. We’re going to come ready tonight and play the same style.”

Tags: 2014 NBA Playoffs Atlanta Hawks Indiana Pacers Pero Antic

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