They battled four months to earn homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and then promptly lost it in one night -- or, to be more exact, in the final 4:05 of Game 1.
Using a familiar formula -- a fast start to set it up and a dominating third quarter to knock it down -- the Pacers took control of the series with a resonating 97-74 victory Wednesday in Orlando's Amway Center.
Ahead by six at halftime, the Pacers outscored the Magic 32-17 in the third period to blow it open. Roy Hibbert took care of things inside and Danny Granger capitalized outside as the two combined for 21 points in the period.
The Pacers take a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 Saturday (2 p.m., ESPN, WIBC 93 FM) in Orlando.
By the Numbers
Granger scored 26, the most of any player in the series thus far, making 9 of 16 shots overall, 5 of 9 from the 3-point line. He added nine rebounds, three assists and two steals but committed five turnovers. Hibbert, who totaled 12 points in the first two games, had 18 on 8 of 10 shooting, adding 10 rebounds and three blocks. George Hill scored 15 and Paul George had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Darren Collison had 10 points off the bench. The Pacers shot 47 percent, made 8 of 20 from the 3-point line and outrebounded Orlando 45-32. Indiana committed just two of its 13 turnovers in the second half.
Glen Davis led Orlando with 22 points, 16 in the second quarter. He shot 10 of 18 from the field and pulled four rebounds. J.J. Redick had 13 points off the bench, and Jameer Nelson scored 10 with five assists. Orlando shot 42 percent, was 5-of-15 from the arc and committed 17 turnovers.
"They've got a size disadvantage without Dwight Howard in there. There's no secret there. They're doing the best they can, they're fighting, they're competitive. But they tried putting Glen Davis on David to limit him some and that's why I keep preaching to my team all year, this isn't just one defensive big guy and one offensive big guy, we've got two horses." - Pacers Coach Frank Vogel
"That loss (in Game 1) really woke us up. It showed us what Orlando was capable of and we knew we had to really play in this series to win. We have just been executing, especially on the defensive end." - Granger
"I think we're adjusting. We see what they're doing, they made their run the end of the first half, we adjusted and we just tried to lay it on them as much as possible. They're a good 3-point shooting team and we wanted to make sure we either took away their 3-point shots or contested every 3-point shot they attempted, so luckily we did that, we got the rebound and executed on offense." - Hibbert on the halftime adjustments
"We knew they were going to come out with a lot of energy at home but this team is continuing to grow. We still made a lot of mistakes tonight. We're trying to get to the point where we're playing the right way, making the right play every single time, cut out all the my-bads." - West
"We felt like we just had to buckle down, felt like this was the most important game of the series, obviously, because it was the next one, we wanted to come in here and be able to put together a good effort on their home floor. We get a couple days to make some more adjustments and come out ready to go Saturday." - West
"I don't think we're going to panic with him making plays because we've got confidence in our ability to contain. The way we look at it is if (Davis) gets going, it means Redick's not shooting threes, Anderson's not shooting threes, the ball's out of Jameer Nelson's hands. I thought it worked in our favor." - West on Davis
"It felt amazing. I never played a game on my birthday, so I guess I'm 1-0." - George
"He's been great all series long. Like I tell him in every timeout, once he gets rolling, we'll get rolling as team. Having him that you can kick the ball to, a sharpshooter, a threat who can also post, when he rolls we're all going to roll." - Hill on Granger
Stat of the Game
After outscoring Orlando 30-13 in the third quarter of Game 2, including a 25-5 run, the Pacers outscored the Magic 32-17 in Game 3, including a 19-5 run. For the series, the Pacers have outscored Orlando 81-43 in the third quarter.
Much like in Game 2, the Pacers came out of the locker room with another level of energy on both ends of the floor in a dominating third quarter. They quickly pushed a six-point halftime lead to 50-38 in the opening minutes and Orlando was able to cut it to 57-48 on a J.J. Redick 3-pointer but Indiana then put it away with a 19-5 run as Hibbert pounded away inside against an overmatched Ryan Anderson and Granger benefited from the space created on the perimeter. Hibbert had 12 points in the quarter, Granger nine.
Orlando's second-leading scorer during the regular season, Ryan Anderson made his first bucket of the game with 8:17 remaining. … George celebrated his 22nd birthday. … For the third game in a row, the Pacers took a double-digit lead out of the gate, bolting to a 21-10 lead as they hit nine of their first 10 shots. Indiana led 19-9 in Game 1 and 18-7 in Game 2. … Davis was red-hot in the second quarter, hitting 7 of 10 shots and scoring 16 points, including eight in a row to cut the lead to 38-36 but the Pacers held on and led 44-38 at the break, their first halftime lead of the series. … The Pacers shot 53 percent and had 10 assists in the first half but committed 11 turnovers, four by Granger. … A couple of historical statistical trends to consider: the Pacers are 0-3 in playoff series when splitting the first two games at home and 1-14 when losing Game 1.
Game 4 comes Saturday at 2 p.m. in Orlando (ESPN, WIBC 93 FM). Game 5 will be next Tuesday in Bankers Life Fieldhouse at a time to be determined but will be broadcast live by Fox Sports Indiana as well as WIBC 93 FM.