1) Avoid Turnovers
The Pacers struggled on Saturday turning over the ball 22 times. Sloppy, lazy or indecisive passes led to a large majority of turnovers. Compare 22 turnovers to the 14 or 16 turnovers in Game 1 and 2 respectively and it is easy to understand why the Pacers struggled in game 3. Six to eight additional turnovers a game means that the Pacers lost, on average, 7 opportunities for offensive and gave the Hawks an additional 7 scoring opportunities.
The Atlanta Hawks, if you haven’t noticed, move up and down the court quickly. It is critical that the Pacers get back in defensive position quickly. Once that basketball goes in net or a rebound is lost the entire Pacers team needs to get back into defensive position and help others. It seems to work well when the Pacers pressure the point guard and have everyone else set in their defensive position. Slow the game down and the results like more like the second half of game three (gave up 36 points in the second half compared to 54 points in the first half).
3) Paul George needs to get to the line
In game three the ESPN reporter was commenting the Paul George was struggling – pointing out he had only made three shots from the field. As I mentioned in a previous post Paul George had a triple double in Game one and only shot 3-13 from the floor but 17-18 from the foul line. It is critical that Paul George gets to the foul line if his shot isn’t fouling. It is as simple as driving to the hoop and drawing the foul. In game 3 Horford had four fouls and Paul George was taking fade away jump shots. Instead he needed to drive to the basket and either get an easy lay-up / dunk because Horford is in foul trouble or draw the foul and get him pulled from the game.
Gerald Green was a key in Game 1 and 2 with great productivity from the bench. The issue is that we need the shooter to have some self-control, at least from three point land. In Game 3, Green was 2 of 8 from three – those shoots could be utilized closer to the basket for higher percentage shoots.
5) Utilize Hibbert and Hansbrough in the post
Hibbert has struggled playing in Atlanta but that is a simple mental block that he is starting to overcome. Hansbrough is tough and his practice under the net has shown. The Pacers need to make a concerted effort to get them the ball down low – again for higher percentage shoots.
Lucky for us the Pacers don’t have to get a win in Atlanta, but let’s be honest, as a fan you want a win tonight and then the opportunity to cheer the Pacers on to round 2 this upcoming Wednesday. I will be out of town, in Phoenix this week but I will be cheering from the west coast! Live, love and play like there is no tomorrow – thanks for reading!
The Marris Minute