The Norman Transcript

Sports

April 20, 2014

Teague leads Hawks past top-seeded Pacers in Game 1

INDIANAPOLIS — Atlanta’s Jeff Teague demolished the Pacers’ grand playoff plan.

As his teammates set up around the 3-point line, Teague simply blew through open lanes to the basket repeatedly.

The Pacers didn’t have an answer.

Teague scored a playoff career-high 28 points, Paul Millsap added 25 and the eighth-seeded Hawks won their first road playoff game in three years, shocking top-seeded Indiana 101-93 to take a 1-0 lead in the first-round series.

“I just wanted to win,” the Indianapolis native said after beating his hometown team.

Perhaps that’s why Teague finally cracked a hesitant smile in the locker room before stepping to the podium.

Or it could be that Teague remembers the frustration Indiana caused when it clinched last year’s 4-2 first-round win on Atlanta’s home court. As one of the few remaining links to that team, Teague wasn’t about to let something like that happen again.

This time, surrounded by a mostly new group of 3-point shooters, a first-year coach and a game plan that the Pacers never adapted to, Teague kept getting to basket.

He wound up 9 of 19 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free-throw line with five assists and three rebounds on a night the Hawks snapped an eight-game road losing streak in the playoffs and became the first team to beat Indiana on its home court twice this season.

Atlanta won its first road playoff game since Game 1 of the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals at Chicago, and they’ll have a chance to do it all again Tuesday in Game 2 before the best-of-seven series movies to Atlanta, where the Pacers have won only two times since December 2006.

“I think getting off to such a good start against such a good team is important,” coach Mike Budenholzer said after his fifth win in six games. “It’s really not something we talked about. They’re the No. 1 seed for a reason.”

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