Denton's Dish: Magic at Pacers Game 2 (4/30/12)
By John Denton
April 30, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS – For a half Monday night, the Orlando Magic were able to overcome some shaky shooting by playing relentlessly on the boards and hustling their way to an early lead.
But when those shots continued to miss and the offense misfired time and again, the Magic ran out of steam and allowed the Indiana Pacers to even this best-of-seven series at 1-1.
Orlando saw an inspiring start and two-point halftime lead collapse under an avalanche of missed shots and turnovers as Indiana pulled away in the second half for a 93-78 Game 2 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
``We’re going to have to be better offensively and I’m going to have to find something because we’ve been under 40 percent two straight games because it’s been a real struggle,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``But we can’t give up 22 fastbreak points, give up 25 second-chance points and have 16 turnovers. We’re not going to have a chance to win if we do that. And we’re going to have to make some shots. … They beat us with their energy and effort and that’s just not acceptable.’’
The Magic shot just 35.5 percent and turned the ball over 16 times to jumpstart the struggling offense of the Pacers and ignite the noisy Indiana crowd. The fatal blow for the Magic was a stretch in the third quarter when the Pacers scored 14 straight points as the Magic missed six consecutive shots. Orlando’s drought lasted 4 minutes, 21 seconds.
``Obviously we have a lot of scorers on this team and we thought we’d get it going, but we never did,’’ said power forward Ryan Anderson, who had 11 points, but made just three of nine shots. ``Their momentum was just greater than ours, they fought harder and they made more hustle plays.’’
The offensive inefficiency cost the Magic a chance to go up 2-0 in the series. Teams up 2-0 in the series go on to win 94 percent of the time, but it wasn’t to be on this night. The Magic couldn’t duplicate Saturday’s Game 1 when they withstood every run, scored the game’s final 11 points and won 81-77 to steal homecourt away in the series.
The series now shifts to Orlando’s Amway Center for Game 3 (Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.) and Game 4 (Saturday at 2 p.m.). The two teams split two games in Orlando during the regular season.
Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis had 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, but most of his damage came in a dominant first half. J.J. Redick scored 13 points in relief of Game 1 hero Jason Richardson, who had little impact at all with just two points and no 3-pointers.
Hedo Turkoglu chipped in 10 points, while point guard Jameer Nelson had just 12 points and missed all three of his 3-point shots.
``Obviously you have to be happy that you got one (win) on the road, but I don’t think that’s a good frame of mind to be in,’’ said Redick, who made five of 12 shots and one of five 3-pointers. ``We have to make our adjustments, both Xs and Os and with what we bring to the game on Wednesday night.’’
In two games, the Magic are shooting 37.6 percent from floor and 34.7 percent from 3, while averaging just 79.5 ppg. In the regular season they shot 44.1 percent overall, 37.5 percent from 3-point range and averaged 94.2 ppg.
Here is a look at a few of the key moments from Monday’s Game 2 from Bankers Life Fieldhouse:
- The Magic dominated the boards in the first half, allowing them to storm all the way back from an 11-point deficit early on and lead 44-42 at the break.
A whopping 12 of the Magic’s 25 boards in the first half came on the offensive glass. Davis demolished Indiana’s Roy Hibbert inside, grabbing six offensive boards. The work on the glass allowed the Magic to overcome 31.9 percent shooting in the first half because they got 11 more shot attempts than the smallish Pacers.
Many of those offensive rebounds led to 3-point shots while the defense was scrambling. The Magic made six 3-pointers in the first half, while Indiana missed all four of its tries.
- Davis was downright dominant in the first 24 minutes with his hustle and muscle, pounding the Pacers inside for 14 points and eight rebounds.
Frustrated by getting his shot blocked four times in Game 1, Davis boldly predicted that he would ``go through’’ Hibbert in Game 2. He did just that, knocking the 7-foot-3 center around with his physical style of play.
But Davis, who is still playing on a sprained ankle, seemed to wear down after halftime. He had just four points and two rebounds after halftime. He finished just five of 16 from the floor, but made eight of 10 free throws.
``We just didn’t hit shots and that’s what we’ve got to do to win ball games,’’ Davis said. ``They had three guys with 18 and 17 points. Their whole starting five except for Hibbert scored a lot of points and we can’t let that happen.’’
- For a second consecutive game, the Magic were overwhelmed by the Pacers and the noisy crowd at the beginning of the game. The Magic trailed 17-7 at the start of Game 1 and found themselves behind 18-7 early in Game 2.
The Magic were forced to take mostly contested shots early in the game and as a result made just three of their first 10 tries. But a key moment came when Turkoglu buried a 3-pointer to ignite the offense. Orlando outscored Indiana 14-6 the rest of the first quarter, allowing it to withstand Indiana’s emotional punch early in the game.
``A lot of it is their defense and a lot of it is our starters are coming out of the locker room with nothing in terms of energy,’’ Van Gundy fumed. ``We’re actually going to have to talk about that because they are absolutely bringing nothing to the game.’’
- Similarly to the slow starts to the game, the Magic are also having lots of trouble in the third quarter matching the intensity of the Pacers.
The Magic yielded their halftime lead in Saturday’s Game 1 by getting outscored 19-13 in the third period. Sadly, Monday’s third quarter was even more lopsided for the Magic.
After getting within 56-55 on a deep 3-pointer by Ryan Anderson, the Pacers used a 14-0 spurt to blow out to a 70-55 lead. Five different Pacers scored during the run, while the Magic couldn’t get a shot to fall. By the time Orlando was down 72-57 its shooting percentage had dipped to 32.8 percent (20 of 61).
``Both games we’re way behind at the start of the game and the start of the third quarter,’’ Van Gundy added. ``And then our bench comes in and gives us a lift. But those (starters) aren’t bringing enough to the game.’’
- Hedo Turkoglu continues to struggle with the hard plastic protective mask that he’s wearing to protect the three fractures below his right eye. He complained to teammates along the Magic bench about being unable to see with the mask during one point in the first half. And when he was asked by Indiana guard Dahntay Jones about the mask at halftime, Turkoglu muttered, ``It’s awful.’’
- Magic small forward Quentin Richardson is the team’s most vocal player from the bench, constantly offering encouragement to the team and staying into the game mentally. As the team’s most veteran player, Richardson said it’s his job now to speak up even more following a loss.
``It’s a seven-game series and it’s going to be important now for us to win on our home court,’’ Richardson said. ``We’ve got to do whatever it takes to be ready for Wednesday. I’m going to make sure of it. I’m going to lead that spirit and make sure we’re ready to play.
``That’s how I’ve been all year long,’’ Richardson continued. ``I’m going to keep myself involved and engaged one way or the other whether it’s on the sideline, on the bus or the plane. I’m going keep trying to motivate. I know that we have a million different excuses and say this or say that, but that’s not what we’re all about. We’re all pros here and we’re going to do what we need to do. This is a very winnable series for us and we’re going to do what we have to do to win.’’
John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997 and recently authored ``All You Can Be’’ with Magic center Dwight Howard. E-mail John at firstname.lastname@example.org
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