Sports

Hibbert holds key to beating Hawks, helping Pacers make another deep playoff run

  • Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel directs his players against the Orlando Magic during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

    Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel directs his players against the Orlando Magic during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)  (The Associated Press)

  • Indiana Pacers' George Hill, front, makes a move to get around Orlando Magic's Kyle O'Quinn during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

    Indiana Pacers' George Hill, front, makes a move to get around Orlando Magic's Kyle O'Quinn during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)  (The Associated Press)

  • Orlando Magic's Arron Afflalo (4) drives around Indiana Pacers' Evan Turner (12) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

    Orlando Magic's Arron Afflalo (4) drives around Indiana Pacers' Evan Turner (12) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)  (The Associated Press)

The Pacers are walking around with a new approach these days.

They're joking around and sounding relaxed. It's about time.

Indiana has been struggling since before the All-Star break and now that the playoffs are looming, the top seed in the East seems to be getting back to normal. The real test will come Saturday when Atlanta visits Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Game 1 of this best-of-seven series.

Two weeks ago, the Hawks (38-44) dominated Indiana on its home court by spreading out the offense and making the Pacers' big men chase their perimeter shooters.

All the Hawks need to do is steal one of the first two games at Indiana (56-26) and home-court advantage would swing to the Hawks.