Moving on to the business at hand this evening, Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star breaks down the Pacers' situation entering tonight's game:
The Pacers are three games behind the Hawks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. A victory cuts the Hawks' lead to two, gives the Pacers the tiebreaker and keeps the Hawks' magic number to eliminate the Pacers at three.Sekou Smith tackles the same theme from the Atlanta perspective:
A Pacers loss means they can't pass Atlanta and will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season, something they haven't done since Reggie Miller's first two seasons in 1987-88 and '88-89.
With a win tonight, the Hawks can eliminate any doubt about where they're headed when the regular season ends.Sekou also got a pair of typically strong quotes from Josh Smith:
"Last time we came up here, we got our [behinds] whipped," Smith said. "You can't sugarcoat it. They smashed us."and
"Don't think we don't know it, that we don't feel it," Smith said by phone after the Hawks wrapped up practice Monday in Indianapolis. "We have to keep our eyes on the prize right now. We know that, too. But if we play like we did in [Saturday's win] in Philadelphia ... we just have to handle our business."