Saturday, April 28 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Eastern Conference Game 1: Pacers 77, Magic 81
By Matt Keller
It’s Playoff time in Indiana. This was clear to anyone sitting in the sold-out Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday night. Welcoming back a healthy Danny Granger and Leandro Barbosa for game one of the Easter Conference Playoffs, the Indiana Pacers jumped out to a commanding lead 10 point lead early.
Orlando went on a 12-to-3 run late in the first getting them back within one to end the first quarter. The hot shooting continued in the second and the Magic took an eight-point lead before closing the half ahead by seven. Nine of Orlando’s 51 first-half points came off of five Pacer turnovers.
The Blue and Gold came out of the locker room fired up to start the second half, however, and the tides began to turn. George Hill gave the Pacers a one-point lead for after getting fouled shooting a three and making all three free throws. The Magic kept fighting and ended the third quarter up 64-63.
The fourth quarter was back and fourth. The Pacers took the lead early and stretched it to seven before the Magic regained their composure, reclaimed the lead and hit free throws down the stretch to claim the first win of the series, 81-77.
By The Numbers
Orlando’s Jason Richardson hit five three-pointers in the game and ended with 17 points.
Stat of the Game
Pacers Center Roy Hibbert had a franchise playoff high nine blocked shots in the game.
Hot shooting beyond the arc helped keep the Magic in the game. Orlando was 9/24 from three, including five from Jason Richardson. The Pacers were 4-of-13.
“It’s real tough. I can’t remember the last time I missed two free throws, and then the travel call. It was a bad series. We missed a lot of free throws and had some struggles, but it’s just the first game.” – Danny Granger
“We know we have to bounce back. We know it’s a seven game series and we know this is the NBA. We must collect ourselves and bounce back immediately. They hit some key shots when they had to and kept us away. They had a good game plan and it worked.” – Darren Collison
“We fell short of our expectations. We gave up too many easy buckets and we can’t say that we let this one slip away because we never had it. In my opinion, this next game is a must win.” – David West
“Roy (Hibbert) had his best game as a pro defensively. He was extremely effective. We need to be sharper on reads offensively and execute in crunch time. I have every it of confidence we will bounce back. It’s the game of basketball.” – Coach Frank Vogel
George Hill reclaimed the lead after getting fouled behind the three-point line and Roy Hibbert recorded his ninth blocked shot of the game bringing the Pacers fans back into the game.
After a much-needed rest, David West returned to the game in the fourth quarter and scored in the paint to put the Pacers up by three. After a timeout, West came back down the floor and hit a baseline jumper to extend the lead to five.
The Pacers will face the Orlando Magic in game two of the 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs Monday, April 30 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.