Cohen Courtside: Magic at Pacers Game 1 (4/28/12)
By Josh Cohen
April 28, 2012
In Cohen Courtside, Josh Cohen examines the state of the Orlando Magic after games this season. He will tackle sidebar storylines and focus on topics that stretch far beyond the box score. There will also be some analysis on league-wide subjects.
INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s just one win in a best-of-seven series, but wow, that was one satisfying victory.
You can brand it a win of courage and gallantry; you can suggest it was all about confidence and passion; you can argue they wanted to prove to the critics they can succeed without the man in the middle.
You can browse down the checklist. They did everything on the necessary “to-do” list and did them exceptionally well.
It’s been noticeable all season and especially since the injury to Dwight Howard occurred. The Orlando Magic are beyond resilient; they are ahead of the curve when it comes to believing in themselves and each other.
Saturday’s Game 1 triumph was the perfect start to the Magic’s hopefully long and gratifying playoff journey.
Sure, there were some obvious flaws and on Sunday at practice, Stan Van Gundy will probably work his players even harder to shape up and repair the defects.
But, for those who haven’t paid that much attention to this team over the past couple of weeks or so, the Magic are more than capable of substantiating their lofty expectations and aspirations.
It’s not about one player, one tactic or one strong suit. This is one of the most unselfish and self-assured groups you will ever see.
There were times during Saturday’s stirring victory where easily the Magic could have succumbed to the daunting obstacles staring at them in the face.
The Magic kept their feet on the gas pedal, however, and hit the crucial shots when they were most needed. They also prevented the Pacers from scoring when the game was essentially on the line.
Jason Richardson was spectacular down the stretch with two incredibly important 3-pointers, including one that put Orlando ahead with just over a minute left.
In spite of being undersized, Glen Davis, Ryan Anderson and Earl Clark delivered a tremendous defensive effort to limit Roy Hibbert and David West.
Jameer Nelson, who has again evolved into one of the best floor leaders in the game, made all the right decisions when his team depended on him the most.
Again, it was just one win in a long, taxing and demanding seven-game series. The Pacers will likely return for Game 2 with vengeance on their minds and desperation in their heart.
This is likely going to be a riveting playoff series with countless twists and turns. It will be a crusade between two very deserving teams.
For now, the Magic can feel a certain degree of comfort knowing they have stole away the home-court advantage.
The goal is simple: Return home to Amway Center up 2-0 in the series. And then, await a boisterous and passionate crowd in Orlando to try and protect the home court. If all that pans out, Round 2 will be in Central Florida before you know it.
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