Pacers struggle again as Hawks even series at 2-2

The Pacers looked like they were ready to take a 3-1 series lead back to Indiana, but after going up 21-14 in the 1st quarter they allowed the Hawks to score 8-straight points to close out the quarter and take a 22-21 lead. From there, things just fell apart as Josh Smith dominated and boosted the Hawks to a 17-point halftime lead.

The Pacers would make several runs in the second half and get within 4 or 5 points on numerous occasions but the Hawks would also respond with a backbreaker. In the end, the effort just wasn't enough, as the Hawks held on for a 102-91 win as the series shifts back to Indiana for game 5 tied at 2-2.

Hard to pinpoint any specific reason why the Pacers lost other than the poor shooting. The Hawks seemed to contest every shot, forcing the Pacers into a 38% shooting night (which is good considering they were 27% last game). I think it's just a matter of the Hawks knowing how to attack the Pacers weaknesses, and having stars like Josh Smith and Al Horford who can give you buckets when you need them.

All five Pacers starters scored in double figures, led by Paul George's 21. George Hill and David West struggled from the field, finishing 4-15 and 5-14 from the field, respectively. The Pacers will need them to bounce back in game 5 if the team wants to avoid being closed out in Atlanta in game 6.

Right now it's hard to predict how this series will go. The Pacers and Hawks both seem to be much better at home, which is good for the Pacers considering they have home court advantage, but the gap is sure to close as the series approaches its end. The Pacers are still a young team and it's questionable whether they can handle the pressure of a big game 7 on their home floor, if it comes to that.

Considering how well the Hawks are playing at home you would have to think game 5 is a must-win game for the Pacers. Let's see how they respond on Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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