The Indiana Pacers were like the team that had won 42 games this year and were the third seed last night in the second game of the first round series with Orlando. Everyone was contributing. Defense was suffocating at times as Orlando really struggled to score, especially in a stretch in the third quarter, where they didn’t hit anything. Hard to give out a player of the game as many guys stepped up for the Pacers. That’s the good thing about this team is the balance of players who can get the Pacers going.
If you want to know how this Pacers team can get going without all of their starters playing minutes, look to this game and the third quarter. Roy Hibbert picked up his fourth foul early on in that quarter, and left for the rest of the game. The Pacers manhandled the Magic in the third for a 30-13 edge and rolled on to the 93-78 victory.
That quarter it looked to be all Pacers as third quarters tend to be their time to come out after halftime, and really set the tempo of the game. David West looked to stabilize the Pacers, and the crowd was finally able to get into the game once the Pacers looked to take control.
Leading by as many 17 at one point, towards the end of the third and throughout the fourth quarter, the Pacers had the lead just over double digits. That’s right where I thought the Pacers should be, and it’s good to see that Saturday night was just a blip on the radar.
Danny Granger had a solid game as he went for 18 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. But he looked to be more aggressive in this game to make up for his let downs in game one. I’m a bit surprised by the 7 rebounds because it looked like he was always around the basket when guys were shooting. But good to see him getting that much.
David West had 18 points as well and 11 rebounds. Paul George had 17 points in plenty of work throughout the night as he played some with the bench players. George Hill had 18 points to become the fourth starter to hit for double digits. Roy Hibbert had only 4 points, but grabbed 13 rebounds in his limited action for the evening.
Now the series is tied at 1-1, and the Pacers look to have momentum in their favor that they will need to use come Wednesday night in Orlando. They should be able to get both games there if they play like they did tonight, and close out the series at home next Tuesday night. But of course, pick up the first win on Wednesday, and then work for Saturday.