The Indiana Pacers return to home with their series against the Toronto Raptors tied 1-1. If the Pacers want to assure themselves a series victory, they need more production from George Hill.
Hill is usually one of the Indiana Pacers’ more reliable players. In the regular season, Hill averaged 12.1 points, 3.5 assists and four rebounds per game. He has also played relatively well against the Toronto Raptors this season. In four games against the Raptors this season, he is averaging 12 points, 2.5 assists and 1.5 rebounds. He also shot over 50% from the field and shot over 60% behind the 3-point line.
Despite this good fortune, he has struggled in the first two games of this seven-game series. He is only averaging seven points and two rebounds per game. At the same time, he has also only made one out of six three-point attempts. He has got to find a way to be more productive.
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One reason why Hill could be struggling is he focusing most of his effort on defense. He has generally drawn the assignment of guardingKyle Lowry
this series, and he has done a very nice job at times. However, Hill’s defense is not elite, and he cannot limit Lowry’s production forever. At some point, Lowry will get it going offensively, like he did in late in Game Two.
Hill needs to pick up his offensive production to counteract Lowry’s production. He does not need to dominate games, but he has to make the Raptors’ defense respect him on offense. When he is an offensive threat, the Indiana Pacers’ offense is much more lethal.
When Hill is offensively active, his defender will not leave him open in order to help out on other Pacers players. As a result, Paul George and Monta Ellis will run into less traffic when driving to the rim and the Pacers’ frontcourt players will have more room to operate in the post. Also, the Raptors’ defense will pay more attention to Hill when he has the ball, which could open up even more opportunities for his teammates.
This may simply be a rough two-game stretch for Hill, but every game matters in the playoffs. The Pacers cannot simply rely on Paul George to single-handedly win them games, like in Game One. They need supporting players like Hill to play well.
Hill is capable of making to correct adjustments to fix his issues. Again, he does not need to score 20 points a game, but they need him to be much more effective in the offense than he currently is. The Indiana Pacers have chance to pull off an upset, but they need Hill to improve his level of play if they want it to happen.