The 5 and 6 seeds in the East meet up Sunday in Atlanta. The Hawks are up over 3 games on the Pacers and Atlanta has a legitimate shot of catching Toronto for the 4 seed and home-court advantage in the first round. Do the Hawks have more on the line because of this or does Indiana want to make a run of their own?
So far the Pacers haven't been on a roll. Instead their games are making fans run and hide. Indiana went 2-8 over a 10 game span the past couple weeks and seem complacent to go on the road right away in their first round playoff matchup. This definitely should not be their goal, especially with a 10-20 record away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Hawks have been a little better than mediocre on their home court with a 17-12 record at Philips Arena. They haven't exactly been soaring down the stretch either with just a 5-5 record over their last 10 the past couple weeks.
Instead of breaking down the last 10 games as a whole, it might help getting a better read on this game if you play “what have you done for me lately?” For example, in the last week the Pacers have a win over Memphis, a loss on a back-to-back in Miami, a 9-point win in Houston and a 1 point loss in San Antonio. That's not a bad run and either is the 3 full days of rest since the Spurs game.
The Hawks have also rebounded nicely lately with wins in Boston and at home against Detroit. Prior to that they had been on a 3-game losing skid and may be a bit worn down after a Friday night matchup against Cleveland.
It's somewhat hard to pick the side in this matchup. Indiana is well rested and has played decent basketball since losing 6 straight games before the All-Star break. Atlanta has been up and down since the break including a 28 point loss and a 19 point loss right out of the chute. It's really hard to predict which teams will show up in both regards.
Therefore the play lies in the total and the trends lately have been the under. The Pacers have gone under in 6 straight matchups and the Hawks have been below the total in 5 straight (with 1 push). Trends are made to be broken, but an early Sunday matchup should be beneficial to the under.