Without Dwight Howard, the Magic are no match for the Pacers’ in the paint. This was obvious even before the series started but the results through three games have shown just how great the gulf is between these teams on the interior. So far, the Pacers are averaging 42.7 points per game in the paint compared to just 25.3 per night for the Magic.
Here is the game-by-game breakdown:
Game 1: Pacers, 36 – Magic, 26
Game 2: Pacers, 50 – Magic, 28
Game 3: Pacers 42, – Magic, 22
That is a pretty staggering disparity. The Pacers had more points in the paint in their worst game than the Magic have had in any game. A lot of this is due to the fact that the Magic are so jump-shot happy. But some of it is just due to the fact that Indiana’s interior defense, led by Roy Hibbert — who had 9 blocks in Game One and is averaging 4.7 per game in just 28 minutes — has prevented the Magic from converting even the shots they do take in the paint.
Look at the numbers below, courtesy of NBA.com. Orlando is shooting a staggeringly low 48% in the restricted area. That’s where the bulk of Hibbert’s 14 series blocks have come, so that certainly has plenty to do with it. On the other end, the Pacers have only matched their regular season accuracy in the restricted area (54% compared to 55%), but they have seen a remarkable jump in those shots taken inside the paint but not in the restricted area. They have made nearly half of those (49%) compared to just 40% all season long.
Orlando in the Paint
25.3 points in the paint per game
48% (29/61) in Restricted Area
35% (9/26) in the Paint (non-RA)
37.7 points in the paint per game
59% (1022/1726) in Restricted Area
38% (211/553) in the Paint (non-RA)
Pacers in the Paint
42.7 points per game in the paint
54% (47/87) in Restricted Area
49% (17/35) in Paint (non-RA)
37.5 points in the paint per game
55% (1005/1813) in the Restricted Area
40% (355/894) in the Paint (non-RA)