Pacers vs. Magic Series Schedule Released

The dates are now set for the entirety of the Pacers/Magic first round series. We also have times and broadcast stations for the first four. Exact tip times for games five, six and seven remain TBD — but Pacers fans are hoping those won’t be necessary anyway.

Game one is on ESPN in prime time, which is nice. Game four also has a nice afternoon slot (after two days rest importantly) on the Worldwide Leader as well. Unsurprisingly, the weeknight games are getting the red-headed step-child treatment by airing on NBA TV, but we all knew that was coming. With no Dwight Howard, this really is the least marquee first-round series in either conference, especially if the Pacers handle their business and keep it uncompetitive. As they should.

The only odd thing that jumps out about this schedule is that there is only one day of rest between games two and three. Historically, there is usually an extra day for travel in there, and the Pacers/Magic and Heat/Knicks are the only two first-round series of the eight total that don’t have one this year. Granted, it’s 2012 and these guys have a chartered plane and the flight from Indianapolis to Orlando isn’t grueling. But it still means the Pacers (and Magic) will have to fly out a few hours after their Monday night game, not get to Orlando until super late, not get to sleep until even super later and then do a shootaround the next day. Again, after the crazy, compressed schedule these teams were forced to play all season, this probably will not affect their play or preparedness to a staggering degree. The extra day of rest is just another casualty of the lockout, however. And they do get that extra day between games three and four so exhaustion can’t be an excuse for either. (They also do have a travel day, if needed, between games four and five and between games five and six, if necessary. Tiredness definitely can’t be used as an excuse.)

Really, this could hurt Orlando much worse than Indiana as road teams that fall down 0-2 will likely want that extra day of preparation/rest much more than a home team that is up 2-0 and just wants to stomp on their opponent’s neck. If Indiana loses home court advantage by dropping either games one or two, however … yeah, that will be one more hurdle they’ll have to jump over so as not to get upset.

Indiana vs. Orlando

Game 1 - Sat. April 28, Orlando at Indiana, 7 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 - Mon. April 30, Orlando at Indiana, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 - Wed. May 2, Indiana at Orlando, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 4 - Sat. May 5, Indiana at Orlando, 2 p.m., ESPN
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Indiana at Orlando, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, Orlando at Indiana, TBD

  • Danny Granger

    Hey guys just want to say thanks for the support but i wanna see all u at the game saturday ….

  • your mom

    (3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Orlando Magic

    The stakes
    The only way this could’ve worked out any better for the Pacers is if David Stern randomly granted them a first-round bye. (After all, it has been a whole four months since he has stepped in and made dramatic league-altering decisions.)

    Not only do the Pacers get a Magic team in turmoil with its coach and superstar at odds, but that superstar won’t even be in the picture.

    The definition of a successful season for Indiana would’ve included an appearance in the second round of the playoffs. And facing the Magic without Dwight Howard gives the Pacers a great chance at doing just that.

    The Magic aren’t complete pushovers, but since beating the Bulls, Pacers and Heat in consecutive games in early March, the only playoff-bound team Orlando has beaten was a floundering Philadelphia team twice.

    Still, if the Magic can do the unthinkable and win a playoff series without Howard, it would certainly bring into question the value of head coach Stan Van Gundy, who presumably will be dismissed after the season, as per the alleged request of Howard.

    Winning with Van Gundy but without Howard should make Magic brass reconsider exactly how valuable each of those respective assets really are.

    How it’ll be decided
    Welcome, Ryan Anderson, to the role of leading man.

    One of the top candidates for the NBA Most Improved Player Award, Anderson has barely had time to enjoy his breakthrough season, and now he’ll become the primary target of the Pacers’ defense.

    Yes, Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu (who’ll be masked and ready to go after suffering a fractured cheekbone on April 5) are the ones who make the Magic’s offense go by driving and kicking. But Anderson has done most of the scoring damage, even with Howard out.

    J.J. Redick and Jason Richardson should have issues against the length of Paul George and Danny Granger, which would put even more of an onus on Anderson.

    If he can pull that off, then Anderson deserves more than MIP honors. They should create a Most Underrated Player Award.

    It’s a lot more likely the Pacers’ balanced attack guides them to the second round, putting a bow on a season that’s gone about as well as could be expected.

    You can expect more from David West than the seven points and five boards he averaged against the Magic in the regular season, especially without Howard protecting the rim.

  • pubes

    Scouting report: Magic vs. Pacers

    When the season began four months ago, everyone expected that the Miami Heat or the Chicago Bulls would be the top two teams in the NBA. No one knew how the rest of the field would fare, but they expected the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic or the Atlanta Hawks to slide into the third position. And although everyone acknowledged that the Indiana Pacers were a young, talented team, no one expected them to improve as quickly as they did this season. They finished the season with 42-24 record and have their highest seed since the 2003-04 season when they were the top seed. This has been a great step forward for the organization, but after pushing the Bulls in the first round last year, right now they are looking to win their first-round series with the Magic.

    The Orlando Magic franchise is a mess. They have had so much turmoil this season with the Dwight Howard soap opera that their season cannot end fast enough. With Howard out of the lineup, it is hard to imagine this team winning a first-round series against any opponent. They have struggled to defend and score since the departure of Howard and these problems will be compounded in the playoffs. For everyone’s sake, the Magic should hope for a quick and painless exit in the first round. The Magic are expected to get Hedo Turkoglu back for the playoffs. He will play with a mask to protect his fractured cheekbone. Turkoglu has been a non-factor all season for the Magic so his return does not improve the Magic’s chances to defeat the Pacers. The Magic defeated the Pacers three out of four times this season, and they beat them twice in Indiana, so this looked like a good matchup several weeks ago. But without Howard in the lineup, Stan Van Gundy will have to go to the drawing board and add some new wrinkles and twists to his game plan to compete with the Pacers.

    Indiana Offense

    • The Pacers are only an average offensive team, scoring 97.7 points per game which ranks them tied for 12h in the NBA.

    • The Pacers need to take advantage of Orlando’s loss of Dwight Howard. The Magic are allowing opponents to score 102.0 points per game over their last seven losses. Opponents have shot 53.0 percent from the field over that time.

    • The Pacers utilize the 3-point shot in their offensive arsenal, shooting 36.8 percent from the 3-point line. They attempt 16 3-point field goals per game.

    • The Pacers get to the foul line which is a major bonus in the playoffs. They attempt 25.9 free throws per game which is third in the NBA. They shoot 78.2 percent from the foul line. Danny Granger leads the team in free throw attempts per game with 4.7 attempts, followed by Tyler Hansborough at 4.2 and Roy Hibbert at 3.7 free throw attempts.

    • The Pacers are a very low assist team, averaging only 18.4 assists per game, 28th in the NBA.

    • The Pacers will pound the offensive glass in this series. They finished sixth in the NBA in offensive rebounds with 12.5 per game. In this series, where they have a height advantage across the board, they will attack the glass for second shots relentlessly.

    • The Pacers will attack via low-post touches to Roy Hibbert, attempting to establish a dominant low-post presence with the absence of Howard in the lineup. Hibbert cannot settle in the low post; he must get deep low-post position and get the ball to the rim. He is shooting 49.7 percent from the field this season. His success will be predicated on his free throw attempts against smaller, inferior post defenders Glen Davis and Daniel Orton. It will be hard for the Magic to double Hibbert because they will be exposed on the perimeter versus the shooting of Granger, Paul George and George Hill.

    • The Pacers will post all mismatches across the board. They will post George versus J.J. Redick, they will post Granger versus Jason Richardson and David West if there is a definitive mismatch.

    • The Pacers will utilize their movement offense versus the Magic. The will use set plays where they get hard cuts to the rim by Granger followed by a pin down for a jump shot. This will put pressure on the Magic defense to defend due to the ability of Granger to post initially or come off the screen and make jump shots.

    • Indiana will also utilize pick-and-rolls with Hill/Darren Collison and West, as well as running numerous catch-and-shoot plays for Granger, George and Leandro Barbosa.

    • Orlando struggles to defend the perimeter and the Pacers will attack the Magic with Granger and George. The Magic do not have a perimeter defender to guard either one of these two players one-on-one. The Pacers can put a ton of pressure on the Magic at these two positions.

    • The Pacers will utilize their depth to wear down the Magic defensively. Although the Pacers do not have a superstar on their roster, they will play 9-10 players with eight of those players averaging over nine points per game. The Pacers will bring Collison, Barbosa and Hansbrough off the bench and will tax the Magic’s ability to match their firepower.

    Orlando Offense

    • When looking at the Magic, the season numbers are not as important as the numbers without Dwight Howard. Since April 1 , the Magic have played 14 games, and 12 of them have been without Howard; they are only 4-8 without him in the lineup.

    • In their eight losses, the Magic struggled to score, averaging only 89.6 points per game and shooting 41.3 percent from the field.

    • The Magic also really struggled from the 3-point line in those seven losses, only shooting 30.0 percent. Without Howard, teams do not have to double the post and are locking on perimeter shooters.

    Ryan Anderson has been drastically hurt by the loss of Howard. Teams
    refuse to leave him and in the past four games he has shot only 30.0 percent from the 3-point line. During the entire season he shot 39.3 percent from the 3-point line.

    The Magic must run multiple pick-and-rolls versus the Pacers to combat their size differential. They cannot throw the ball into the post and they cannot beat opponents off the dribble so they must put the bigger, slower Pacer defenders into movement. Look for the Magic to run every type of pick-and-roll (drags in transition, middles, step ups, sides) and set multiple picks in the same possession. They must get both Hibbert and West away from the paint and get them involved in pick-and-roll coverage. They are both slow and below average pick-and-roll defenders. This is their best chance of scoring versus the Pacers.

    • The Magic will also run some catch-and-shoot action for Redick and Jason Richardson.

    • If Turkoglu is 100 percent healthy the Magic must utilize him as a ball handler, facilitator and scorer. The schedule proved too much for him during the regular season and he was extremely unproductive. The Magic must hope that Turkoglu can get himself reenergized and become productive offensively quickly in this series. If the Magic can put the ball in his hands and run pick-and-rolls for him it will give them another important weapon.

    • The Magic love to run post ups for Jason Richardson but he will be negated in this series due to the height and length of Paul George and Danny Granger. If at some point they do have a mismatch at the guard or forward position look for them to attack with post/isos.

    Player Matchups

    Point Guard

    George Hill: Hill has taken over the point guard duties in Indiana recently due to a groin injury to Collison. He has been spectacular during that period, averaging 13.9 points per game, 5.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds, while shooting 45 percent from the field. The team finished the regular season with a record of 6-3 with Hill as the starting point guard. The combination of Hill and Collison will be too much for Jameer Nelson.

    Jameer Nelson: If the Magic have any chance of pulling off an upset in this series Nelson will have to play at an extremely high level. He is a scoring point guard and will have to be extremely aggressive against both Hill and Collison. Nelson has averaged 14.6 points per game and 7.4 assists in the last 10 games for the Magic.

    Shooting Guard

    Paul George: George is one of the next superstars of the NBA. He is a blossoming star and Frank Vogel has extended his role with the playoffs approaching. Vogel has extended his minutes by playing him in place of Dahntay Jones’ second- and third-quarter minutes more with the second unit, also hoping this will help Collison play with the second unit.

    J.J. Redick: Redick is one of the most improved players in the NBA. He has worked diligently to find a place in the Magic rotation. He has been inserted into the starting lineup with Turkoglu out. Redick has seen his minutes rise while averaging 16 points per game and shooting 46.2 in last 10 games. He has suffered with lack of good 3-point shots recently, shooting only 28.5 percent (8-28) in the team’s last seven losses.

    Small Forward

    Danny Granger: This should be a mismatch for the Pacers if Turkoglu cannot play and the Magic play Richardson at small forward. He is the Pacers’ leading scorer at 18.7 points per game. Granger is a scorer who has tremendous shooting ability. He attempts 5.2 3-point field goals per game, shooting 38.1 percent from behind the line. He leads the team in free throw attempts (4.7 per game). The Pacers need Granger to be extremely aggressive against the smaller Richardson and dominate this matchup.

    Jason Richardson: Richardson is a scorer, averaging 11.6 points per game. The Magic will play two guards alongside Nelson with Richardson having to match the opponents small forward. Richardson has shot only 40.8 percent from the field this season. In order for the Magic to win this series his numbers must improve. He is averaging 14.2 points per game and shooting 41.9 percent over the last 10 games for the Magic.

    Power Forward

    David West: The Pacers acquired West in the offseason to bring veteran experience to this young roster. He needs to assert himself in the playoffs. West has averaged 12.8 points per game and 6.6 rebounds during the regular season. With Hibbert, West and Hansbrough the Pacers have a strong, versatile frontcourt.

    Ryan Anderson: Anderson has had a terrific season for the Magic as the perfect complement to Dwight Howard. He averaged 16.1 points per game and 7.7 rebounds during the regular season and has been directly affected by the loss of Howard. Teams lock onto Anderson and he has not been able to get clean 3-point looks at the basket. He is only shooting (12-50) 24.0 percent during the past seven Magic losses.

    Center

    Roy Hibbert: This should be the biggest mismatch for the Pacers without Howard available. Hibbert has averaged 12.8 points per game and 8.8 rebounds during the regular season. Hibbert needs to be in attack mode with deep post catches and getting to the rim. He cannot settle when he catches the ball. Hibbert, who has only averaged 3.7 free throw attempts during regular season, needs to get to the free throw line for the Pacers.

    Glen Davis: The Magic have gone without a center since Howard has been injured. They have utilized two power forwards with Davis and Anderson. Whether they can do that against Hibbert is another story. Davis has been up and down all season for the Magic but in the last 10 games he has been terrific. Davis’ numbers have skyrocketed during that time. His minutes are up to 30.1 per game and he has averaged 14.8 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Magic while shooting 50.5 percent from the field.

    Bench

    Indiana

    Darren Collison: A big key for the Pacers in the playoffs is the ability for Collison to adjust to his new role. Collison may play the same amount of minutes for the Pacers but it may be with different combinations on the court. The depth of him and Hill should dominate the point guard matchup with Nelson.

    Leandro Barbosa: Barbosa has been a very good pickup for the Pacers at the trading deadline. He brings instant offense off the bench for the Pacers. Barbosa has averaged 11.0 points per game over the entire season with the Raptors and Pacers. He has 3-point range and is shooting 37.9 percent for the season.

    Tyler Hansbrough: An excellent off the bench forward for the Pacers, Hansbrough has averaged 9.3 points per game and 4.4 rebounds. He needs to be decisive and nail midrange jumpers in order to be successful throughout playoffs.

    Dahntay Jones: He has been productive for the Pacers during the regular season but is going to be out of the regular rotation during the playoffs. He will be used if there are specific foul problems or needs. Look for him to get more time as a defensive stopper in second round if the Pacers advance and play the Bulls or Heat.

    Louis Amundson: Amundson is another big body that head coach Frank Vogel can put on the floor for the Pacers. Amundson plays with energy, defends and attacks the offensive glass.

    Orlando

    Hedo Turkoglu: Turkoglu may be ready and possibly start for the Magic in their series with Indiana after missing the past 10 games with a fracture to his cheekbone. When he is at the top of his game he is a terrific facilitator and shot maker. He loves to use pick-and-rolls and with his height, vision and passing skills he can make productive plays for the Magic. The problem with Turkoglu is that he is not the same player in his return to Orlando as he was in his first stint. His numbers this year of 10.9 points and 4.4 assists are mediocre for a player of his caliber.

    Daniel Orton: He may become an important role player for the Magic with the absence of Howard and the presence of Hibbert. Orton has averaged 19.0 minutes, 4.8 points, 4.4 rebounds in the last five games.

    Chris Duhon: Duhon has been a steady, backup point guard for the Magic. He can defend, but with Howard out the Magic will need more from this position. They may turn to Ishmael Smith and Duhon may see his minutes dip.

    Ishmael Smith: In his last six games, he has averaged 13.8 minutes per game and scored 4.3 points for the Magic. He could be utilized in this series because of his speed and athleticism to defend Collison.

    Quentin Richardson: Richardson will be utilized in the Magic’s three-guard rotation as a role player off the bench. He is an excellent spot-up shooter but without Howard in the lineup he will not get open looks.

    Von Wafer: Wafer has averaged 5.7 points per game for the Magic this season. He is shooting 40.0 percent from the 3 point line.

    Prediction: Pacers in 5

  • http://www.espn.com John Hollinger

    (3) Pacers vs. (6) Magic

    Season: Magic 3-1
    Power Rankings: Pacers 102.8, Magic 99.5
    Accuscore: Pacers 80%, Magic 20%

    Let’s not waste a ton of time here. If Dwight Howard was healthy, this would be a great series; without him it’s a mismatch. Indy is healthy and its starting five have been extremely effective as a unit. Orlando counters with a wounded Glen Davis, no stars and virtually no bench. If the Magic win this one, Stan Van Gundy should be allowed to fire Howard.

    Pick: Pacers in 4

    (2) Heat vs. (3) Pacers

    Season: Heat 3-1
    Power Rankings: Heat 104.6, Pacers 102.8
    Accuscore: Heat 76%, Pacers 24%

    Here’s the other potential barnburner that nobody is talking about. Indy is better than you think — the Pacers are tough defensively, they’re basically completely healthy and their size on the wings allows them to match up well against Miami. With George Hill at the point, the starting five outscore opponents by 15.1 points per 100 possessions, and regardless of who plays point, the other four starters are plus-10.0, according to NBA.com — a number that nearly matches Miami’s output with its three stars in the game.

    The problem is actually the rest of the game. Indy’s bench is secretly terrible; virtually every bench unit combination has been outscored this season, and a few combinations have endured savage beatings. (Lou Amundson-Dahntay Jones, for instance, is minus-7.0 per 48 in 519 minutes, while Darren Collison-Tyler Hansbrough is minus-5.2 in 555 minutes.) The Pacers’ best bet is probably to use a six-man rotation as much as possible, with Danny Granger moving to a small-ball 4 and David West getting some burn at center, but in a compressed series with a back-to-back in the middle, that may prove extremely difficult in practice.

    In the big picture, Indy is a good team on the upswing, but this is the part that it comes oh so close, loses painfully and gains from the experience.

    Pick: Heat in 7

  • David West Says Even Without Dwight Howard the Magic Are a Dangerous Team

    After years of being stuck in mediocrity and hovering around the final spot in the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers finally took a huge leap this year. David West’s addition this offseason was a big reason why. West not only brought an offensive post presence to the Pacers, but he brought playoff experience, more toughness to an already gritty team, and leadership qualities to a team that needed that badly. While the Pacers are a team built without a superstar, there is a lot of depth and a lot of talent on the roster and they should be able to get past the Orlando Magic in the first round. After an early exit in last year’s playoffs, that would be another great step for a team whose future looks bright.

    David West joined 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis to talk about how he feels heading into the playoffs, whether he has brought a veteran, leadership presence to the locker room, if he thought the Pacers would be as good as they were in the regular season, on the match-up against Orlando and if he looks at himself as the guy the offense should run through late in games.

    How he feels heading into the playoffs:

    “In terms of my health I feel great. I’m really locked in mentally to what we’re trying to do. We challenged ourselves to finish the season as one of the hottest teams and we were able to do that. We finished 12-3 and there was really only one team and that’s the Spurs that had a better record than us during that stretch. It’s just about us being locked in as a team and obviously when our individual parts are performing well our team performs well.”

    If he has taken on the leadership qualities for Indiana:

    “Guys look for me in certain instances where maybe there’s some uncertainty but we have a great group. Leandro (Barbosa) has helped in that regard and he’s had some incredible playoff runs with the Phoenix Suns and we’re able to say a few things to these guys just in terms of what to expect but this group is talented, is a very confident group. We know our work is cut out for us but preparing the right way for a better opponent.”

    If he thought the Pacers would be this good:

    “I’ve been telling people for the last week or so that just in terms of the talent that’s here, the size of the team, the makeup of the guys, I think where we are is exactly where we felt like we could be at the start of the season competing as one of the top teams in terms of home court advantage in the East. We never doubted it for a second. I thought we did a great job in terms of a unit and growing, putting our hard hats on, humbling ourselves when needed to be and putting ourselves in a good situation.”

    On the match-up against Orlando:

    “They don’t have that inside presence that Dwight brings them but they’re a dangerous team because they’re shooting more threes than anybody and really spreading you out. Our defense is really going to be put to the test in terms of handling their spread offense and guys who can shoot the three from all over the floor and they’re doing it at a very high rate. We just have to guard against that letdown. We have to come prepared to play, guard the three point line and depend on one another.”

    If he thinks he is the option late in the game on offense:

    “I consider myself to be another option. I think what happens is we throw me into the mix and there’s a little uncertainty from opposing teams in terms of how they’re willing to help off me, how much they’re willing to give me in terms of my space. We’ve done a great job of playing off of that. There are times where I know I’m going to be a decoy and free other guys up. The last month of the season we’ve been able to get kind of a good rhythm in terms of knowing who is going, when to go to the guy and it’s been working out for us. We’re going to have to be that much more precise. We have to be very determined in our movements and what we want to accomplish on every single offensive possession.”

  • NoLookPass

    No. 3 INDIANA PACERS (42-24) vs. No. 6 ORLANDO MAGIC (37-29)

    Season series: Magic, 3-1. Orlando won twice in Indiana, holding the Pacers to 82 points per game in those matchups. Of course, the Magic had Dwight Howard for those four games and don’t have him now, which makes the season series largely meaningless.

    Story line: Orlando long had the inside track on the No. 3 seed in the East, but ended up barely holding on to sixth after Howard was lost at the end of the season to back surgery. Meanwhile, the Pacers surged to the finish to draw what appears to be a favorable matchup.

    Key matchup I: Danny Granger vs. Quentin Richardson. Richardson has always been a rugged defender up for the task of taking on the opposition’s top scorer, but nobody on the Magic had much luck against Granger, who averaged 19.3 points even with a 4-of-16 night thrown in.

    Key matchup II: George Hill vs. Jameer Nelson. Hill played well after replacing an injured Darren Collison that he held onto the point guard job even after Collison returned. Nelson has long been Orlando’s second-best player and will need to be at his best without Howard.

    X-factor: Tyler Hansbrough. With Orlando a little undersized up front, Hansbrough has a chance to come off the bench and duplicate his performances in the last two meetings, when he averaged 18 points.

    Prediction: Pacers in 5.

  • NoLookPass

    I’m hard on our bench but I think Hollinger is too hard. We have used a countless different combination on the second unit so they have never had any time to gel. If Frank can avoid small ball and thus losing his bench’s faith and they mesh it will give us a big time advantage come the second round.

    Tyler gets under the Heats skin big time he takes 10.7 FT PER36 against them in his career and getting the big 3 in foul trouble and reaching the bonus is always nice. He’s a 48.9% shooter over 8 games in his career vs Miami even with a 2-for-8 early this year, DC has put it on the Heat a couple time this year and had one of his best games of the year against them going for 20-6-8 in a win. Barbosa has sucked against them the last few years but Lou has crashed the glass so these guys should get a shot especially considerations….

    Our main issue with the Heat has been our current starters outside of Paul George no showing!
    45.7% for PG
    41.9% for Hibbert
    35.7% for West
    34.0% for Granger
    14.3% for Hill in 2 games

    The bench has valid reasons behind their issues these guys don’t as they are our money players.

  • dwain

    Pacers vs Magic- Pacers will cold start a game and loose a game outright

    Pacers in 6

    Pacers vs Heat- Pacers come alive

    Pacers in 7

    Pacers vs Spurs- a hurting Spurs team will still have too much for us

    Spurs in 6(but if the Spurs slip up…)

  • dwain

    Bulls vs Pacers- pressure will mount on the Bulls this time and will be off for a lose Pacer squad

    Pacers in 6

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