The Pacers, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, evened their opening-round playoff series with the eighth-seeded Hawks on Tuesday night.
But Indiana head coach Frank Vogel needs to do a lot more if he wants to keep his job beyond next season.
Advancing past the first round would not automatically ensure Vogel's job safety, a source told Marc Stein of ESPN.com after Tuesday's game, and the 40-year-old is "coaching for his job" after Indiana's extended slump to end the regular season.
The Pacers closed the regular season 10-13 after a 46-13 start.
Writes Stein: "The decision on whether to retain Vogel at season's end ultimately rests with Pacers president Larry Bird, sources said, but frustration throughout the organization has been mounting thanks to a nosedive that began in February with a loss in Orlando just before the All-Star break and has shown few signs of abating."
The Pacers acquired Evan Turner from the 76ers in exchange for Danny Granger in late February, but the team is only 14-13 since he came aboard. Turner and guard Lance Stephenson reportedly got into a fight at practice on the eve of Game 1 of the playoffs on Friday. And team sources told Stein it wasn't the first time in recent weeks Stephenson has clashed with a teammate.
Stephenson and guard George Hill had to be separated on the bench during a 26-point home loss to San Antonio on March 31, a source told Stein.
Indiana has made the playoffs the last four seasons and has missed the postseason only five times since the 1989-90 season, but it has only one NBA Finals appearance — in 2000, when Bird was the Pacers' coach. SI WIRE: Gregg Popovich named NBA Coach of the Year