When Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard’s season came to a close after having back surgery, many NBA observers thought that the Indiana Pacers would win their first round Playoff match-up with relative ease. It turns out that those predictions were far off the mark , at least through the first two games of the series. Orlando came into Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday and defeated Indiana by a final score of 81-77 and they held a lead at the half of game two as they entered the visitors locker room Monday night on top by a 44-42 margin.
What ever Pacers bench boss Frank Vogel said to his players during the halftime break must have been rather inspiring; as the squad exploded for 30 points in the third, while holding their opponents to just 12 points in the period. Indiana took control of the contest during the quarter and the Magic were never able to regroup and mount a challenge in the final 12 minutes of action as the Pacers won the contest 93-78, knotting up the series at one game apiece.
David West racked up a double-double for Indiana in the victory as he knocked down 18 points in the game; Danny Granger and George Hill also both scored 18 points for the night. Glen Davis led the way for Orlando as he recorded a double-double also notching 18 points for his second consecutive strong performance in the series.
One player who has yet to have had success on the offensive end is Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who cleaned the glass for double-digits in board in both games; grabbing 13 rebounds on Monday; yet scoring only four points for the night. The big man had the best regular campaign of his career this past season, being named to his first NBA All-Star team. In order for the Pacers to dominate this match-up and for the club to possibly survive a second round series; Hibbert will have to step it up offensively.
West put up 18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals while Granger had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 1 block. Hill added 18 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal while Paul George scored 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Leandro Barbosa came off the bench with 10 points, 3 rebounds, a block and a steal.
Davis scored 18 points, 10 rebounds, a block and a steal while J.J. Redick came off of the pine with 13 points, 3 assists and a rebound. Rounding out the scoring for the Magic; Jameer Nelson put up 12 points, Ryan Anderson had 11 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 10 points for the night. The series knotted up at 1-1 moves to Orlando for game three which will be on Wednesday.