Tuesday, May 8th at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 7:00 p.m.
Countdown to Tipoff: Game 5 Pacers (3-1) vs. Magic (1-3)
By Conrad Brunner
Scouting the Pacers
The last time the Pacers closed out a playoff series at home, it launched them on a run to the NBA Finals. Travis Best's jumper at the buzzer delivered a 96-95 victory over Milwaukee in the deciding Game 5 in 2000 (first-round series were then best-of-five affairs). With a 3-1 series lead, the Pacers will try for the clincher Tuesday in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana has not won a playoff series since the first round in 2005.
As good as the Pacers have been up front with both David West (16.8 points, 10.0) rebounds and Roy Hibbert (11.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.3 blocked shots) both averaging double-doubles, their perimeter shooting has been erratic. They've made just 27 percent of their 3-point attempts as Paul George has gone 0-of-13 in the series and missed his last 20 in a row overall. Even so, the offense has upped its point total in each game (from 77 to 93 to 97 to 101) and the defense has limited the Magic to 31.9 percent shooting from the arc in the three victories.
With Darren Collison leading the way with 11 points and nine rebounds, the bench came to life in Game 4 with a series-high 26 points. Indiana has dominated the boards 191-158, fast-break points 51-13 and points in the paint 170-118 and led by double figures in all four games. The Pacers have not trailed by more than eight (in Game 1).
Scouting the Magic
Though shorthanded, Orlando has demonstrated it is a team that does not yield. Down 19 in the fourth quarter of Game 4, the Magic came all the way back to force overtime and indeed had quality looks at potential game-winners at the end of both regulation and the extra session, either of which would've changed the tenor of this series. Orlando also rallied in the fourth quarter of Game 1, wiping out a seven-point lead and scoring the final 11 of the game for its only victory.
Glen "Big Baby" Davis has had a strong series, averaging 20.0 points and 9.5 rebounds but has had his shot blocked 13 times. But NBA Most Improved Player Ryan Anderson has not been a factor, averaging just 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and shooting .323 overall. Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson has struggled, averaging 12.8 points and 7.0 assists but shooting just .340 overall and 3-of-17 from the 3-point line.
It's all about the third quarter. Indiana has outscored Orlando 108-60 in the period, outrebounding the Magic 57-25 in the process. The Pacers have shot 46 percent and committed 10 turnovers in the period, while Orlando has shot 37 percent and committed 20 turnovers.
"We can't take it for granted. We know the hardest thing to do is close out a series, especially when a team's life is on the line. We know we're going to take their best punch. I'm thankful we're going to have our fans behind us. I'm sure Bankers Life is going to be jam-packed and very loud, so it's good to go back home through and try to finish it off." – George Hill
“What do you say? They all know the score. It’s 3-1and it’s a matter of mindset and whether you think you’re still in the series or not. Based on what they did down 19 points (Saturday), my guess is that they’re not going to quit on anything. They will come out and play on Tuesday night; damn hard and very well.” – Orlando Coach Stan Van Gundy on his team
For the Pacers, none are reported. For the Magic, Dwight Howard (back surgery) is out.
Tickets still remain for you to see the Pacers try to eliminate the Magic from this year's NBA Playoffs.Buy Your Tickets Now to Game 5 »
The 7 p.m. game will be telecast on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game with Brook Olzendam hosting the pregame show starting at 6:30, as well as an expanded postgame show immediately following the game. NBATV also will carry the game. The radio broadcast will air on WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bobby "Slick" Leonard.
You can get in-game commentary from this group of Pacers personalities throughout the game on Twitter.