Leandro Barbosa Ready to Play in Game 1; Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu Will Play Through Injuries

Our roving reporter Tim Donahue is on the scene at Bankers Life Fieldhouse tonight and reporting that Frank Vogel has said Leandro Barbosa’s ankle has improved greatly since yesterday. He is ready to go without any limitations and will join Danny Granger and Paul George as the team’s only three players expected to see action at the shooting guard and small forward positions. That, as expected, leaves Dahntay Jones out of the rotation unless foul trouble or injuries occur and George backing up Granger at the 3 spot. “I like what Dahntay gives us,” said Vogel before the game, “but I like what Paul gives us more. It isn’t about being unhappy with Dahntay.” Vogel added that if they “can get more of Paul George out there, I want to try and take advantage of it.”

He also spoke about what both teams’ coaches know is, quite literally, the biggest mismatch: the Pacers front court. Vogel says that his team isn’t going to change it’s whole offensive flow just to force everything inside to Roy Hibbert, but did note that “every play is his play.” That doesn’t just mean post-ups though; the rest of the players need to make cuts and duck in for easy looks in the paint while Hibbert stays active all the time.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, whose depleted front court is also dealing with a Glen Davis ankle injury that kept him out of defensive drills yesterday, knows that the interior will be a weakness for Orlando. His plan is to force the Pacers big men to keep moving in hopes of wearing them out as they chase his long-range shooters around and rotate along with Magic ball movement. On the other end, however, he knows defending the paint, and simply defending Indiana’s shooters after kick-outs, will be a formidable challenge. “It’s not just Hibbert,” said Van Gundy. “They can post us up 2 through 5. And even on close outs, we’ve got little guys going at big guys.”

As for his team’s injuries, well, that’s just going to me another hurdle. Both Davis and Hedo Turkoglu will play hurt. “Glen is swollen and he’s not 100%,” reports John Denton of Magic.com. Van Gundy added Turkoglu “nobody would have said anything” if Turkoglu had decided to take the whole playoffs off with his injury. But like Davis, he will play. “They both want to give it a go,” said Van Gundy.

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