INDIANAPOLIS – They say that you can’t go home again. Don’t tell that to Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague.
Teague, a former standout at Pike High, a public high school on the northwest side of the Circle City, helped make the hometown Pacers looked like zeros on the court.
And thanks to a listless and lackluster effort on their own home floor, the top-seeded Indiana Pacers lost 101-93 and now find themselves down 0-1 to the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks.
Tied 50-50 at halftime, the Hawks used a 30-point third quarter—including 14 from Teague—to lead 80-66 and cruise to an easy road win over the heavily favored Pacers.
Coming into the playoffs, the Pacers made it their public goal of securing home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, based on their “performance” Saturday night, that elusive goal if playing an East Final at home could be nothing more than a fairy tale.
In looking lax, lazy, lack of urgency and simply looking uninterested, one would assume that the Hawks were the top-seeded team and not the Pacers.
And Atlanta can thank the Indianapolis-born Teague for that.
Teague, a fourth-year point guard out of Wake Forest, averaged 16.5 points, 6.7 assists and 1.1 steals during the regular season, orchestrated Atlanta’s surprisingly easy win by displaying nifty footwork, a deft shooting touch and slick passing, as he would finish with 28 points and five assists on 9-of-19 shooting in 32 minutes.
For the Pacers, this was not the result that many expected when the post-season began, as Indiana was perceived as a favorite to advance to their second all-time NBA Finals. Not today.
Thanks to a cascade of boos, lack of effort and another case of mental self-implosion, the Pacers now must go back to the drawing board.
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