Pacers even series by beating MagicBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Mon, Apr 30, 2012 11:50 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS - Finally. It took six quarters, but the Indiana Pacers finally came to life in their series against the Orlando Magic. And now their best-of-seven series is tied at a game each. The Pacers responded to their fourth-quarter collapse against the Magic in Game 1 by using an explosive third quarter to beat the Magic 93-78 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday. Game 3 is Wednesday in Orlando. "A terrific win," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "A gutsy playoff type of win. They're a challenging team to guard." Forward David West, forward Danny Granger and guard Paul George led the Pacers with 18 points each. Center Glen Davis had 18 for Orlando. Vogel must have lit into his team at halftime because they came out a different ballclub in the third quarter. The Pacers outscored the Magic 30-13 by getting 13 second-chance points and 16 rebounds in the third quarter. The 16 rebounds were four shy of their entire first-half total. The Magic were held to 35.7 percent shooting in the quarter. "We grinded it out, played tough defense and were able to benefit from that," Pacers guard George Hill said. "We won the battle on the defensive end, which meant good offense" The Pacers took the lead for good when Hill made an 11-foot floater early in the third quarter. "They beat us with their effort and energy," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Our starters are coming out of the locker room with nothing in the third quarter. And honestly they're not bringing much at the start." The victory helped the Pacers overcome their fourth quarter collapse in Game 1 over the weekend. It was a repeat of the first half from Game 1 in Game 2. The Pacers energized their crowd by jumping to a quick double-digit lead behind eight early points by West. But just as it did over the weekend, the Magic never buckled after Indiana's strong early start. The Magic scored nine of the final 11 points of the first quarter to get back to within three. Orlando took a page out of Indiana's book and started playing blue-collar basketball, producing 12 second-chance points in the first quarter. The Magic took their first lead, 30-28, on a jumper from Davis early the second quarter. Davis was supposed to be a weak link for Orlando in this series because he's 5 inches shorter than Pacers center Roy Hibbert, but that hadn't been the case. Davis scored 14 points in the first half. West led the Pacers with 10 first-half points. "They do not miss an opportunity," Vogel said. "If you don't play the right way offensively, they will own the paint and they will force turners and bad shots. They are a very well coached team." NOTES: Hibbert had the words "stay low" written on his shoes as a reminder when he's working to get deep position on Davis. ... Granger attempted between 800 and 900 free throws and jump shots after practice Sunday because he was upset with his 7-of-20 shooting performance in Game 1. ... Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee purchased more than 300 tickets for fans to attend Game 2 in an attempt to help the Pacers have even more of a home-court advantage.
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