Read a preview and watch a live stream of the Hawks vs the Pacers.
Where: Game 1 – Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis.
When: Sunday April 20, 00:00 BST
Having struggled in recent months to secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers appear to be confident ahead of facing the Atlanta Hawks.
The Pacers dominated in the first half of the season and looked intent on making no mistakes in terms of having home-court advantage against their rivals in the East.
However, while they faltered badly in the second half, the Miami Heat were ultimately incapable of capitalising and eventually handed them the opportunity to regroup and regain their confidence moving forward.
Center Roy Hibbert is under pressure to improve on his recent struggles as he will undoubtedly be a key component if the Pacers are to progress, while the entire line-up will be looking to improve offensively.
Hawks sharp-shooter Kyle Korver insisted that from his team’s perspective they must knock down their shots if they are to beat their rivals, as that will counter Indiana’s strength inside and put pressure on them to respond.
Invariably this series will come down to offense vs defense, as while the Hawks will look to get their shooters involved and drag the likes of Hibbert and David West away from the rim, the Pacers will look to shut them down and win low-scoring affairs.
As a result, tempo will likely be key in determining who prevails, and while Indiana will have the advantage of playing four games at home if necessary, their bench is arguably deeper too.
The odds are against Atlanta, but they do have players to make this interesting if they can execute consistently as that will then provide a test of whether or not Indiana have really gotten over their end-of-season slump.