Indiana Pacers might need some 'Magic' against Orlando in the first round of playoffs

If the Indiana Pacers have to face the Magic in the first round, it would not be ideal.
Indiana Pacers v Orlando Magic
Indiana Pacers v Orlando Magic / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages

With the NBA's regular season approaching its conclusion, that means playoff seeding will soon be finalized. One potential matchup in the first round could place the Indiana Pacers against the Orlando Magic.

Indiana faced off against Orlando three times this season but only came away with one win. The latest contest was just over a month ago in the Sunshine State where the Pacers won their only contest against the Magic, 111-97. If they look to reverse their fortunes from their pair of defeats against their potential adversary, Indiana may need to come up with a little magic of their own.

What advantages does Indiana have over Orlando?

First off, the Pacers have one of the league's best offenses, if not, the best. All-Star Tyrese Haliburton is averaging a double-double with over 20 points and 10 assists a game. Prior to the trade deadline, Indiana was able to obtain the services of Pascal Siakam via trade. Since joining the Pacers, he is averaging 21 points and almost eight rebounds a game.

Siakam brings both playoff and championship experience, having won a ring with the Toronto Raptors not too long ago. Another big man who can produce is Myles Turner. He is averaging about 17 points and seven boards a contest while blocking almost two shots a game.

Despite having one of the league's worst defenses, the Pacers may benefit from playing a low-scoring offense in the Magic. Outside of Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, no other player in Orlando is scoring more than 13 points a game for coach Jamahl Mosley.

Another advantage the Pacers have is the experience. Though Orlando has surpassed expectations this season, they are the fourth youngest roster in the league (24.3 years) whereas the Pacers are at 25.6 years old, on average.

How did the Magic win those two games against the Pacers?

Early in the season, the Pacers dropped a 128-116 game where no starter scored more than 14 points. The team shot about 44% from the field and 26% from behind the arc in the game. These marks are well below their season averages.

Banchero led Orlando with 24 points and Wagner had 19 points and seven rebounds. Five other players had 13 points or more. The Magic also came up with 10 steals and 10 blocks in that game.

In the other loss, two days before Christmas, Indiana fell to Orlando 117-110. Haliburton did his part in the Pacers' efforts to pull out the victory as he tallied 29 points and 15 assists. Turner had 24 points and collected seven rebounds along with four blocks. Both teams shot the ball efficiently while shooting over 52% from the floor.

Banchero and Wagner, again, had huge performances as collectively, the duo scored 56 points and cleaned up 13 rebounds between the two of them. The Pacers' defense was able to swarm everyone else as the Magic shot 37.5% from the field and only 25% from behind the three-point line.

The X-Factor for Indiana to win in the first round if they face Orlando

The key is for the Pacers to come away with an early win in the series on the road. Teams that win Game 1 of a postseason matchup have gone on to win that series 77% of the time. The Pacers shoot the ball better, score the ball more, and collect more assists than any other team in the Eastern Conference and in the NBA.

Rick Carlise has been here before as he has coached over 130 playoff games and also has a ring, like Siakam. Experience should beat out youth here. The three-headed monster that the Pacers boast in Haliburton, Turner, and Siakam have a chance to take out Orlando and advance to the second round awaiting their next playoff foe.

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Prediction: Indiana 4, Orlando 2.