May 1, 2012, 12:47 AM EST
For the first 27 minutes, Game 2 of the Indiana game against Orlando looked like Game 1 — the Pacers raced out to an early lead but then their offense went cold while the Magic got some inspired play and had the lead.
Then the Magic went on a 25-5 run in to close out the third quarter, pulled away and never looked back, getting a comfortable 93-78 win. A win that looked a lot more what Pacers fans expected this series to look like. Now the 1-1 series shifts to Orlando for Game 3 and we’ll see how a young Pacers team adjusts to playoff life of the road.
But during the run in the third it was George and West that seemed to be the spark. West was the Pacers’ best player on the night, not just the 18 points but he was physical all game long and hard for the Magic to handle.
What Indiana did well was play to their strengths in this series — they controlled the paint (they grabbed 34 percent of their missed shots with offensive rebounds and second chance points were key during the run) and the Pacers got out and got points in transition. The Magic need to grind it out to win this series and the Pacers pulled away when they got some easy buckets in transition.
The Magic were supposed to be dead in this series because they are without Dwight Howard the Pacers would own them inside. But in the first half Glen Davis and Ryan Anderson outplaying Roy Hibbert and West. Davis finished with 18 points. At one point in the second quarter Vogel pulled Hibbert to go smaller rather than punish the smaller Magic because it wasn’t working.
Orlando also did a good job in the first half running pick and roll, they broke down Indy’s defense then kicked out for three. It worked. They were getting the looks.
But in the second half the Pacers played better defense. Add to that Davis looked winded and wasn’t getting the same look and the Pacers got stops. Which they converted into those fast break points they needed.
Still, this is proving not to be an easy series for the Pacers. Orlando is playing with real grit and energy, showing that they are just Howard’s sidekicks. Jameer Nelson is setting guys up, players such as J.J. Redick (13 points) are stepping up.
Indiana showed for a stretch why we thought they would run away with this series. But they are going to have to show growth to be able to do it for longer and on the road if they want to start to fulfill that promise.
- Craig Sager makes long-awaited return to TNT after 11-month battle with leukemia 0
- Report: JaVale McGee close to signing with Celtics 25
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Wednesday: Masked Russell Westbrook just needs a cape 17
- George Karl: Knicks could use a strong point guard next to Carmelo Anthony 13
- Ray Allen announces he will not play this season 14
- Pelicans’ Anthony Davis a gametime decision Wednesday vs. Pistons 1
- Derek Fisher questions ‘character and integrity’ of players after Knicks lose to Kings by 38 points 29
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday: The Hawks clinched playoff spot in front of Josh Smith 6