Cohen Courtside: Magic vs. Pacers Game 3 (5/2/12)

By Josh Cohen
May 2, 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.


ORLANDO -- It was probably in the minds of the 18,500 spectators at Amway Center on Wednesday and in many of the thoughts of those watching around the globe.

If I were sketching together a comic strip, the sentiment would almost certainly appear inside one of those balloon captions aside each of the cartoon characters.

It would read something like this:

“If the Orlando Magic only had No. 12 on the court, the Indiana Pacers would be in some serious trouble.”

Unfortunately, though, Dwight Howard, who is recovering from back surgery, will not be reenacting Willis Reed from the 1970 NBA Finals when he emerged out of the tunnel to help the Knicks capture the title.

No, instead it’s the Pacers feasting on Howard’s absence, relishing on their privileged size and abusing the Magic inside.

It was the primary fear heading into this series.

Indiana is just simply bigger at nearly every position. And that’s mainly why when you examine the box score from Game 3 you notice this:

Points in the Paint:
Pacers: 42
Magic: 20

Offensive Rebounds:
Pacers: 13
Magic: 5

The Pacers are capitalizing on what they excel at. If Howard were present, the Pacers would probably be denied of doing what they excel at.

Indiana is forced to score inside because it doesn’t have the assets to shoot effectively from the perimeter.

Orlando, on the other hand, doesn’t have the intimidating presence to jolt its First Round opponent.

The Magic, in effect, are searching for answers.

They know they have to light it up from beyond the arc to win and that just hasn’t happened yet.

Orlando has been limited to less than 10 3-pointers made in the first three games of this series. It must catch fire sooner than later if the Magic want to regain control of this series.

They also need to be more proficient in transition. The Magic did not score any points on fast breaks in Game 3 and considering their deficiency in size this is a necessity.

There are some encouraging notes, nonetheless.

Glen Davis continues to be sterling. He notched 22 points and almost single-handedly kept the Magic close in the first half.

Orlando also did a splendid job on David West, who some would suggest is Indiana’s most dangerous offensive player. West posted just four points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field in Game 3.

This series is far from over. The Magic proved in Game 1 they are capable of prevailing despite all the limitations.

Win Game 4 and just like that, it’s a best of three. That’s the message that must encircle the Magic locker room right now.

Do you think the Magic will win Game 4?
Do you think the Magic will win Game 4?
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