The Orlando Magic were able to flip home court advantage right off the bat in the first round of the playoffs against the Indiana Pacers. They’ll go for a 2-0 series lead on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
No Dwight Howard? No problem. The Magic came up with one of their best defensive games of the entire season on Saturday night, especially in the second half to shut down the Pacers and to pick up a pivotal win to start off this series. Earl Clark blocked four shots, and Glen Davis had three rejections as well. Virtually every look at the basket the Pacers got was contested, and the end result was a big time game on both sides of the court. Davis had a double-double with 16 points and 13 boards, including six rebounds on the offensive end of the floor. Jameer Nelson had 17 points, while Jason Richardson knocked down five three-point field goals to get to his 17 points. The bench really didn’t come up with all that much in terms of offense, but the contributions of all of the players that were on the court were huge in the first game of what many figured would be quite the short series.
The Pacers know that they did just about everything right over the course of Game 1. They got to the foul line 22 times in relation to Orlando’s 11. They had four more offensive rebounds than Orlando did. They also had five more total rebounds than Orlando did. They controlled the pace of the game, shooting the ball 87 times, and they won the turnover battle by two. However, the shots just weren’t falling, and hitting just 13-of-22 foul shots really didn’t help all that much. Roy Hibbert had a great game with nine blocks and 13 boards, but he only had eight points. Danny Granger had 17 points, but it took 20 shots for him to get there and he had five turnovers, including the traveling turnover at the end of the game that took away and last chances that the Pacers had of sending the game into overtime. David West was probably the biggest star of the day for the Pacers, as he came up with 19 points and nine rebounds. In the end, 77 points just isn’t going to cut it, and both we and Indiana know it.
The Final Word: The Magic did their job here in Indiana in Game 1, but we think that it is time for the Pacers to strike back. It’s a big point spread to be shooting at, but we think that the hosts are going to come out on fire and break the spirit of an Orlando team that has shown its willingness to give up in games when it is overwhelmed.
Orlando Magic @ Indiana Pacers Free Pick: Indiana Pacers -8.5
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.