With the Indiana Pacers rebounding for a Game 2 win Tuesday to level their playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks at one game apiece, the Daily Reporter asked Hancock County varsity basketball head coaches to answer this question: What do the Pacers need to do to finish off the Hawks?
Doug Laker, Greenfield-Central girls basketball: "They have to stop dribble penetration. They're guarding these stretch 4s and 5s, and they've got to be able to contain people off the bounce. The big adjustment (Tuesday) night was putting Paul George on Jeff Teague. That was the big thing. What the Hawks are going to do now is pick and pop on Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi because it's tough for those big guys to cover guys who can put it on the ground and get it to the basket. They just have to get tougher. You can't let Kyle Korver have anything, and that's tough because they're driving and dishing. On offense, if the Hawks go small, the Pacers have to make Paul Millsap guard someone. Hibbert has to score in the paint. You've got to make them pay for going small. David West and Hibbert have to play better, bottom line. The Hawks are trying to guard them with 6-7 guys."
Travis Daugherty, Mt. Vernon boys basketball: “The Hawks are tough and confident and won’t go away – unless the Pacers put them away. Hopefully the stars and leaders of the team make sure that happens.”
Brian Kehrt, New Palestine girls basketball: “They are capable of being a lock-down defensive team and if they decide to play that way, they have a chance. If they stray from what brought them to the dance (their defense), then it may be a short playoff party.”
Aaron Spaulding, Eastern Hancock boys basketball: “Specifically to the Hawks, I think (the Pacers) have to be willing to play small occasionally so they can effectively limit dribble penetration on defense. The NBA is a game of matchups and I feel the Pacers need to be willing, at times, TO play outside the box to advance in the playoffs.”
Jeremy Powers, Eastern Hancock girls basketball: “It all starts with the big man, Roy Hibbert. He has to start playing like he’s 7-2, not 5-2. I thought he played better Tuesday night, but he has to be that defensive stopper that we have come to watch the last two years.”