The Indiana Pacers, not to mention Pacers fans, would like to think their Round 1 NBA Playoffs series against the Atlanta Hawks will be a breeze. The NBA’s hottest team for the first half of the season, the Pacers went on an epic downward spiral for the second half. Yet somehow they stumbled into the best record in the East. The Hawks, with the No. 8 seed, wouldn’t normally be expected to make much noise. But Atlanta’s shooters could make life hard for a still-fragile Pacers team in Game 1 tonight, if not for the whole series. You can watch Atlanta Hawks – Indiana Pacers live stream game 1 using the links below.
To watch tonight’s Pacers game is to watch a team struggling as much with itself as with its opponent. Indiana (56-26) may say it has momentum going into tonight’s Round 1, Game 1 against the Hawks. By most standards, though, a two-game winning stream to end the season isn’t much to brag about, even if it was the Pacers’ first two-game winning streak in a month.
The key matchup in tonight’s Hawks-Pacers game, in fact, may not even be between opposing teams. Atlanta Hawks Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague could pose some problems for the Pacers with their outside shots, For that matter, the Atlanta Hawks could put all five starters on the three-point line and pull Pacers center Roy Hibbert away from his comfort zone down low.
But the key to the Pacers keeping their two-game streak alive in tonight’s Game 1 against the Hawks lies solely in their own minds. In particular, the mind of All-Star center Roy Hibbert. Hibbert in April has shot just 23.5% from the field and has averaged a mere 3.2 rebounds during the past 13 games. Those aren’t all-star stats, nor are they enough for the Pacers to hold home court advantage or win a series against the Hawks.
Last year when the Pacers gave the Miami Heat a serious run in the Eastern Conference Finals, Hibbert’s head was in a different place. Hibbert’s playoff averages last season were 17 points and 9.9 rebounds. How he fares in the 2014 NBA Playoffs will in large part be determined by the tone he sets in tonight’s Hawks game 1.
The eighth-seeded Hawks (38-44) know this. On offense they’re bound to look to Korver and Teague to stretch the floor, while on defense their small team will simply have to pray that Hibbert continues his bad late-season play. Several ESPN analysts actually think that will happen. All week long experts were saying the Hawks had better than a puncher’s chance to win their Round 1 series.
In other words, tonight’s Pacers-Hawks game could be more entertaining than a 1 vs. 8 game would normally provide. Tonight’s NBA Eastern Conference first-round series between the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers tips off at 7pm EST / 4pm PST. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN for those who have that channel as part of their local cable or satellite package and want to watch the Round 1 playoff game in HD. Otherwise you can Watch Atlanta Hawks – Indiana Pacers Live Stream Game 1 on ESPN3, the live online streaming counterpart for ESPN. It’s also available through the ESPN mobile app, if you’re on a phone or tablet, and via the ESPN app on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. These streaming options do require that you to subscribe to ESPN. If you don’t, you can also watch tonight’s hawks-pacers game online via the NBA channel of Justin.tv, though we aren’t big fans of that spotty service.