The Indiana Pacers are set to start their postseason on Saturday night, and the NBA odds are stacked in their favor against the Orlando Magic.
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If you believe the Ewing Theory, the Magic might be in decent shape in this series. They are going to be without Dwight Howard, which does take away one of the best players in the league, but they also don’t have to deal with all of the drama associated with having him around. That being said, Head Coach Stan Van Gundy can just focus in on coaching without having to worry about Howard being angry on the court and with his coaching style. And, to be quite honest, the team is a heck of a lot more exciting to watch and excited on the court when it can run up and down and not have to worry about getting the ball in the hands of D12. Glen Davis has played well in Howard’s absence, and he is going to be the man that has to duke it out with the bigs for the Pacers. But of course, Orlando is going to come out and jack up threes from all over the court. It isn’t going to work all the time, and it rarely ends in success in the playoffs. That being said, Jameer Nelson, JJ Redick, Ryan Anderson, and the likes are all tremendous shooters when they get the chance, and if the ball continues to move relatively quickly, these shooters might be open against a somewhat questionable perimeter defense for Indiana.
Meanwhile, the Pacers were really a quiet team all season long. Many thought that they would be able to contend in the Eastern Conference, and though they did their job and won 42 games this season, they just don’t feel like they are going to be able to win the whole thing. Danny Granger has been around for a long time, and he has really been a bit of a star for quite a while. However, he doesn’t carry the weight of a man like Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, and the rest of the guys in the East. Granger averaged 18.7 points and 5.0 boards per game in the regular season. He was complemented perfectly by Roy Hibbert, David West, Paul George, Darren Collison, and George Hill, all of which were double-digit point scorers on a regular basis. West brings some added playoff experience to this team, and he is going to be the key in the post to be able to come outside and deal with Anderson and the likes. If the Pacers can’t guard on the perimeter though, they are going to have to go with a smaller lineup with the likes of Tyler Hansbrough on the court, and that won’t be favorable for anything that this team is trying to do.
Orlando Magic @ Indiana Pacers Pick: The Magic are going to have one of these shooting games eventually in this series that make you go, “Wow!” This could be the game. Remember that the Magic have won five of the last six in this series both SU and ATS, and we aren’t afraid of how the matchup works without Howard in the paint either. Take the points in Game 1 for sure.
Free Basketball Pick: Orlando Magic +9
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.