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Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks Game 3 NBA Preview & Free Pick

Pacers vs. Hawks NBA Handicapping

Even the most ardent Hawks fans – assuming that such a species exists – know that the Hawks’ chances of playing any basketball beyond the end of this week are melting fast, and with Atlanta trailing 2-0 in its Eastern Conference quarterfinals playoff series against the Pacers, if there is a stand to be made, it has to be made tonight in Game 3.

Eastern Conference
Indiana Pacers (2-0) at Atlanta Hawks (0-2)
Saturday, April 27
Philips Arena, Atlanta
7 p.m. EST
Spread – Hawks -2.5 at TopBet
O/U – 190

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Over the last decade the Hawks have made a living lurking around for a round or two in the playoffs before compliantly heading home, and this season doesn’t look a lot different. Atlanta didn’t put up much of a fight in Indianapolis in either of the first two games of the series, losing by an average score of 110-94.

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The Hawks had vowed to bring a more physical approach to Game 2 after getting bended, folded and mutilated in Game 1, but Atlanta was beaten by Indy in all phases of the game, with pretty much the same result.

“It’s natural for us,” said Indy’s Paul George of the Hawks’ new-found toughness. “We naturally play physical. It wasn’t like, ‘They’re playing physical, let’s retaliate.’

That’s how we approach the game — in a physical way. We’re not interested in retaliating or injuring players; we’re going to play tough, but (we’re) not interested in all the other stuff.”

George laid 27 points on the Hawks’ heads in Game 2 after a triple-double in Game 1, and it’s clear that putting an end to his MVP-type play is Atlanta top priority if the Hawks have any intention of taking this series back to the heartland for a Game 5. [ad-6571516]

The Pacers, meanwhile, are content to enjoy their recent offensive success and let the Hawks figure out things. Only Golden State and Oklahoma City are scoring at a higher rate than Indiana in the playoffs, and the Pacers own the largest margin of victory (11 ppg).

Of course, Atlanta’s lackadaisical defensive play has something to do with that, and the Hawks aren’t doing themselves any favors by shooting a high school-like 18 for 34 from the free throw line in the series.

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The Hawks’ starters were abused by Indiana in Game 2. In the first and third periods, when most of the minutes were logged by Jeff Teague, Al Horford and Josh Smith, Atlanta was outscored by a whopping 60-47.

That has to change tonight, and the first period could go a long way toward determining in there will be any bite at all in this series or Indiana can coast.

The Hawks have never been a circle-the-wagons type of club, and Atlanta has far more questions than answers.

Indiana is just playing too well. Pacers to cover the 2.5. Suggest a money line play on Indiana to bump up the profit a bit.

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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!


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