Pacers survive but flaws remain

Hibbert's defensive play had a trickle-down effect, so much so that the Pacers played with the type of intensity that characterized the unit that led the league in field goal defense during the regular season. Hill probably ran several miles chasing Kyle Korver around screens. George's length -- and Ian Mahinmi's block at the end of the half -- gave Jeff Teague problems. And the Pacers did a decent job contesting Atlanta's jump shooters. The Hawks were 11-of-44 on 3-pointers.

"It's not easy playing at team that shoots 44 3s," Vogel said. "They had us spread out and scrambling. But they rose to the challenge. Rim protection was exceptional."

Saturday was step in the right direction for the Pacers, but not a big enough one to make you believe they've restored their dominance. Now they're going from facing a 3-point shooting team to one that has one of the best young backcourts in the league in John Wall and  Bradley Beal and a frontcourt that matches up well against them.

"It'll be a mistake for us to relax and be happy with that," Hill said. "I still don't feel like we played our best ball. That's to come. We just have to continue to focus on the task and continue to get better."

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