The Pacers’ remarkable implosion continued Monday night, as the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed lost to the Hawks and fell behind in their first-round playoff series, 3-2, in front of a disgruntled home crowd. It wasn’t even so much that Indiana lost but how: After a competitive first quarter, the Pacers allowed Atlanta to go berserk in the second, giving up 13-of-16 shooting from the field and getting outscored 41-19. It was only the second time in the shot-clock era that a road team scored at least 40 points and allowed less than 20 in any quarter of a playoff game (the 1970 Bucks were the first to do it.)
The Hawks led 61-40 at halftime, ballooned their lead to 30 points in the third quarter and were never really threatened the rest of the way, although Indiana did manage a late, futile rally. Meanwhile, this happened:
That’s just how things have been going for the Pacers of late. During that second quarter, the crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse fell into such a stunned silence that a single heckler could be clearly heard on the telecast.
(Courtesy of Mike Prada)
The game also featured a disappearing act by 7-foot-2 Pacers center Roy Hibbert that, even set against his recent struggles, almost defies belief. This tweet is very mean and completely fair at the same time:
— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) April 29, 2014