How to Watch Pacers' Game With Hawks on Saturday; Gametime, TV, Point Spread

Grant Afseth

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Indiana Pacers used a 111-95 win over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday to end a four-game losing streak. They will look to continue the momentum in a road matchup against the Atlanta Hawks during the NBA's Saturday slate. 

The Hawks' previous outing was a 125-114 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The final score doesn't tell the full story because Atlanta outscored San Antonio by a 27-point margin in the fourth quarter and still lost by double-figures. 

There are a variety of key injuries that both teams are dealing with at the moment. The Pacers continue to be without Caris LeVert and TJ Warren. Meanwhile, the Hawks will not have De'Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kris Dunn, or Rajon Rondo. 

In the Eastern Conference, it will not be easy to earn a playoff spot this season. Teams like the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks both are improved while the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat are finding their form. Right now, the Hawks find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff bracket. 

Here are the particulars on Saturday night's game:

  • Who: Indiana Pacers (13-13) vs. Atlanta Hawks (11-14)
  • When: 7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Feb. 13.
  • Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia. 
  • Latest Line: According to most oddsmakers, the Pacers are considered 1.5-point favorites over the Hawks. (3:30 p.m. ET)
  • Standings: The Eastern Conference standings are beginning to tighten. The Pacers hold the fifth spot but only by a half game over the Charlotte Hornets. There are now two teams within one game of Indiana and five teams within two games, including the Atlanta Hawks. 
  • Series history: Atlanta leads the all-time series, 102-92.
  • Last meeting: The Hawks held on to win 116-111 against the Pacers on Jan. 4, 2020, despite nearly losing a 22-point lead they had established in the opening half. 
  • Projected Hawks starters: Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, John Collins, Clint Capela
  • Projected Pacers starters: Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner.
  • TV: FOX Sports Indiana.
  • Announcers: Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
  • Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)

Here are three things to watch in this game: 

1. Slowing Down Trae Young

The Hawks' offense is severely dependent on the impact that Trae Young is able to provide. If he struggles, chances are that Atlanta will end up having a rough offensive outing. Sometimes that happens anyways regardless of Young's play. 

For the Pacers, managing to slow down Young will be the top priority. He has improved significantly at converting from less than 10-feet both as a finisher and with his floater in recent performances by shooting 61.5% on these looks in his last five games. Will that continue when having to face Myles Turner in the paint? 

Young is highly dependent on his pull-up jumper dropping. In fact, 58.6% of his shot attempts have come in this form over his last five outings. The Pacers like to apply ball pressure, will Young counter and make Indiana's defense pay?

2. Need For Momentum

The quality of basketball put forth by both the Hawks and Pacers has been poor over their last five games. Both teams have posted a 1-4 record during this stretch and getting a win to turn things around will be crucial for both sides. 

It's not just the lack of wins that either team has achieved as of late that has been the greatest concern. Both teams have looked flat. During this stretch, Atlanta has posted a -6.7 net rating (28th) while Indiana is right next to them with a -5.9 net rating (26th). 

It will be fascinating to see which team manages to shake their recent struggles away and achieve a victory. The Pacers looked much improved in their previous outing while the Hawks experienced a lopsided loss. Who will it be? 

3. Hawks' Recent Defensive Regression

One of the main criticisms of this Hawks team has been their inability to execute at even an average level with Trae Young and John Collins on the court. Overall, adding Clint Capela and De'Andre Hunter has helped them to improve, but lately, they've struggled. 

Young's lack of size makes it difficult for him to be a factor against screens and his effort at times is non-existent. Meanwhile, Collins' lack of lateral mobility has made him a liability out in space in pick-and-roll situations and against switches. 

The Hawks are no longer one of the absolute worst defensive teams in the NBA after adding plus defenders. Atlanta has a 110.9 defensive rating (17th) overall on the season but over the last five games, they're sitting at a 119.8 defensive rating (26th).