Pacers return to scene of the crime

The last time the Pacers were in Orlando, they battled the Magic tooth and nail in an overtime victory in Game Four of the NBA Playoffs. Orlando bounced back from a somewhat embarrassing Game Three performance and knew the team's season was very much on the line.

It was probably one of the most exciting and loudest games at Amway Center as fans were hanging on every shot. J.J. Redick hit a couple of big shots in regulation to force overtime and Glen Davis had the chance to force a second overtime with a fadeaway jumper as Orlando matched Indiana shot-for-shot to that point.

It was one of those gut-wrenching games and the plucky Orlando team was not going on the road to steal another game, unfortunately.

{youtube}8EtGTuIIjeI{/youtube}

That series turned out to be a launching point for the Pacers much like the Magic's 2008 Playoff win over the Raptors became a launching point for them.

Indiana is arguably playing the best of any team in the Eastern Conference right now. The Pacers are 24-15 and playing the best defense in the league by defensive efficiency. And it is hard to argue with the low scoring games they tend to play.

And, get this, they are doing it without Danny Granger and with Roy Hibbert playing far below the All-Star level he was playing at last year. This is a team that has all the ingredients to compete in the Eastern Conference. Even last year they gave the Heat all they could handle in a six-game series. They blew Miami out a few weeks ago too.

The emergence of Paul George as a capable "starring" player and David West providing consistency in the post gives a lot of teams trouble. This is a team whose defense is tops in the league, but still struggles to score coming in at 29th in the league in offensive efficiency according to Basketball-Reference.

In other words, it will take another scrappy effort from Orlando to compete with this team tonight. But stranger things have happened in this series:

{youtube}fZJWoQVruL4{/youtube}

Amway Center will not be rocking as much as it was last May when Indiana came to town for the Playoffs, but Orlando should get a nice welcome home and a tough game to play.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

Quantcast