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Sun, Feb 7, 2016

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Pacers-Hawks Game 2: The series that everyone forgot

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Previewing Game 2 of the Pacers-Hawks first round series.

1. Where We're At: The Pacers lead the series 1-0, after a surprisingly entertaining Game 1 eventually stretched to a sizeable Indiana lead late. The Hawks would put themselves in a position to make a run and take the lead, then go all "Hawksy" again and play themselves out of it. The Pacers just executed the way they should.

2. The Big Number: +25. That's what the combination of Paul George, George Hill, and Lance Stephenson logged in Game 1. The Pacers' perimeter guys just absolutely smothered the Hawks' shooters. If you're the less talented, worse-executing team, you need to hit a lot of threes. And the Hawks can't because these three guys are crushing their chances and then converting them into fast-breaks and smart buckets.

3. Key Adjustment: MOARFORD. The Hawks need Al Horford to 1. play 38 minutes at least and 2. get the ball to start 4 of 5 possessions. He's their best player, a willing and able passer, a quality scorer and their best chance at an upset. He's got to be more involved in nearly every way for the Hawks to have any shot.

4. The Big Story: Will Josh Smith show up? Smith was his usual self in Game 1. Great post-move and layup? Good job! Oh, wait, now you're going to take five jumpers. Well, crap. Josh Smith is playing for a max contract and unless he turns it around quickly, ending his season like this after the way he played all year could keep him from it if the GMs have any restraint whasoever.

5. The Facts: 7:30 p.m. ET start time. No notable injuries at this time.

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