It started with a stop. And another. And then another. As the defense opened the door, the offense finally crashed through.
Once the Pacers let Orlando up for air, a devastating third-quarter run had extended to 25-5 and Game 2 -- and possibly the series -- was changed. Indiana used that run to break loose from a gritty Orlando team, build a 70-55 lead and cruise home for a 93-78 victory before a sellout crowd of 18,165 Monday in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
With the victory, the Pacers squared the best-of-seven first-round playoff matchup at 1-1 heading to Orlando for the next two, beginning with Game 3 Wednesday.
Indiana held Orlando to 33 second-half points and the Magic shot just 36 percent overall.
By the Numbers
David West scored 18 points with 11 rebounds and four assists for the Pacers, who shot 43 percent and outrebounded Orlando 46-38. Paul George scored 17 with eight rebounds and two steals. Danny Granger scored 18 with seven rebounds despite 7-of-21 shooting, including 1-of-10 from the 3-point line. George Hill scored 18 with four rebounds. Leandro Barbosa scored 10 off the bench.
Glen Davis led Orlando with 18 points and 10 rebounds but shot 5-of-16 and scored just four in the second half. J.J. Redick scored 13, Jameer Nelson 12 with three assists, Ryan Anderson 11 with eight rebounds before fouling out and Hedo Turkogly 10.
"Holding them to 35 percent shooting is a very strong effort. They’re a challenging team to guard. We guarded the three better in the second half, and we finally began executing what we were looking for offensively. We still haven’t shot the ball well but I like the way we shared in the second half." – Pacers Coach Frank Vogel
"He’s leading our team in competitive spirit and will and desire and everything that doesn’t show in the box score. He’s providing our team with the necessary swagger to get a playoff win. He’s just dialed in. He is a playoff tested veteran." – Vogel on West
"They do not miss an opportunity. If you don’t play the right way defensively, you’ll get drilled from the three point line. If you don’t play the right way offensively, they will own the paint and they will force turnovers and bad shots. They are a very well coached team.” – Vogel on the Magic
“We grinded it out, played tough defense and were able to benefit from that. We won the battle on the defensive end, which meant good offense." – Hill
“We started with a sense of urgency because we knew they were a good basketball team, defended their 3-point shooters better and tracked down a lot of boards from the misses. We know what we have to do on defense and how hard we have to play. We returned to the battle and fought, which resulted in good shot selection. And sharing of the basketball was very key tonight and will be for the rest of the series.” – George
"We can’t get too high after this victory. They still have an advantage going there. There’s room for us to improve and we know it’s going to be a tough environment going down there." – West
"I thought we did a better job fighting for loose balls and making them uncomfortable. I think our intent is to come out and push the tempo. We’ve got guys who can get out on the wing. We can’t come too robotic. Tonight we were able to get in their space, make them uncomfortable and get some easy baskets.” – West
“We’re going to have to be better offensively. I’m going to have to find something that works. We’re not going to win whenever half their points are from second chance and fast break. They beat us with their effort and energy. Our starters are coming out of the locker room with nothing in the third quarter. And honestly they’re not bringing much at the start. They aren’t bringing enough to the game." – Orlando Coach Stan Van Gundy
“I just think they came out and played harder than us in the second half." - Orlando's Anderson
"We did what we came here to do. We would have liked to have gotten two wins, but we fell short. But we still switched homecourt advantage back to us. Now we get an opportunity to go home with our crowd. But at the same time, we can’t just rely on that. We have to be more aggressive than we were tonight." – Orlando's Davis
Stat of the Game
In the second halves of the first two games, the Pacers have limited Orlando to 64 points, forcing 20 turnovers and holding the visitors to 5-of-18 (.278) from the 3-point line.
The game turned completely in the third quarter, as the Pacers outscored the Magic 30-13, racked up a 16-4 advantage on the boards and a 13-2 edge in second-chance points, taking a 72-57 lead into the fourth, and Orlando got no closer than 11 the rest of the way.
Hill was instrumental in the devastating 25-5 run in which Orlando managed just two buckets in a span of 7:40. He scored nine points, including the high-rise drive that put the Pacers up 54-53, and came up with key plays throughout the run as Indiana stretched the lead.
The first half was a virtual replay of Game 1. The Pacers jumped out to a fast start, Orlando took control during the bench minutes and maintained the lead into the break. The Magic led 44-42 at intermission despite shooting 31.9 percent primarily because of 12 offensive rebounds that led to 18 second-chance points.
After starting 3-of-16 from the field and falling behind 19-9 in Game 1, Orlando started 4-of-15 from the field and fell behind 20-10 in Game 2. But once the Pacers went to the bench, things went awry. The Magic put together a 25-10 run (it was 15-4 during the same stretch in Game 1) to take a 32-28 lead.
The Pacers had just three assists in the first half and were outrebounded 25-10. Indiana did enjoy advantages of 28-14 in the paint and 12-0 on the fast break. But with Davis outscoring Hibbert -- who attempted just one shot in the half -- 14-2, Orlando was able to negate Indiana's size advantage up front.
Indiana outscored Orlando 22-2 on fast-break points … West tied a postseason career-high with eight free throws made on a playoffs career-best 10 attempts … West also led the Pacers with four assists, marking the third time this season that one player led Indiana in points, rebounds and assists in the same game … Indiana snapped a six-game home losing streak against Orlando dating back to April 2010 … The Pacers are 1-14 when they lose the first game of a series, while the Magic is 5-0 under Stan Van Gundy when winning the opener … NBA Commissioner David Stern was in attendance, although the storm front that passed through Central Indiana prior to the game delayed the landing of his jet, and therefore his arrival at the Fieldhouse … Former Pacers Rik Smits and Derrick McKey were in attendance … Colts punter Pat McAfee bought 1,600 tickets for Games 2 and 5, distributing 700 free to fans for Monday's game.
The teams will travel to Orlando for the next two, beginning with Game 3 Wednesday at Amway Center (7:30, Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). Game 4 is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5.