Playoffs: Scouting Hawks-Pacers

Paul George's combination of length and athleticism gives Indiana the edge over Atlanta. Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports

Insider offers a breakdown of every playoff series using an expert combination of scouting from Amin Elhassan and advanced metrics from Bradford Doolittle to answer three crucial questions. Also included are predictions from the writers and the classic Log5 formula for determining matchup probabilities.

The emergence of third-year wing Paul George as one of the top two-way players in the game was the hallmark of an Indiana Pacers season that offered major cause for celebration. George made his first All-Star appearance, and the team locked up its first divisional crown since 2004 by leading the league in nearly every defensive category of note.

Meanwhile, the Hawks were able to do what most other teams flush with 2013 cap space could not -- field a playoff team consisting of a majority of players on expiring contracts, most notably Josh Smith, who will seek a max contract this summer. Being able to keep guys playing within the team concept while they are fighting for their next paychecks is no small feat, but the road gets tougher from here, as the playoffs are prime time for "talent showcasing."

Atlanta Hawks (6) at Indiana Pacers (3)

Eastern Conference Playoffs

First-Round Preview