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, simulation results and the classic Log5 formula for determining matchup probabilities.
In a battle of two teams moonwalking their way into the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers will seek to regain their early-season rhythm, while the Atlanta Hawks hope they have the formula to beat Indiana's vaunted defense. These two clubs used to be Central Division foes prior to league realignment in 2004-05, and were coached by two legends in Larry Brown and Lenny Wilkens. Now they play in different divisions (Indiana in the Central and Atlanta in the Southeast) and are led by up-and-coming coaches in Frank Vogel and Mike Budenholzer.
The Hawks gave the Pacers fits during the season, especially in a 19-point drubbing on Indiana's home floor on April 6, at about the height of the Pacers' late-season stupor. Can Indiana wake up in time for the title run that once seemed all but inevitable? Here's what to expect from the Pacers-Hawks first-round series.
Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers
Eastern Conference playoffs