ORLANDO -- Size does matter in the NBA, a fact the Indiana Pacers pounded into the Orlando Magic Wednesday night.
The Pacers hammered the timid and defenseless Magic 97-74 behind 26 points and nine rebounds from Danny Granger and 18 points and 10 rebounds from Roy Hibbert.
George Hill added 15 points for Indiana, whose size advantage at every position really showed in the second half when the Pacers grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and pulled away from a Magic team badly missing Dwight Howard's defensive presence in the lane.
The Pacers outscored the Magic 42-22 in the paint and won the battle of the boards 46-33 to go up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is in Orlando Saturday.
Orlando got 22 points, but only four rebounds from Howard's replacement, Glen Davis. The 6-8 Davis did nearly all of his scoring on the perimeter, but got dominated in the paint. The Magic, who trailed by just six at halftime, got swamped 53-36 in the second half when Indiana went almost exclusively inside with its offense.
The first half was just the opposite story. Indiana hit nine of its first 10 shots, including 3-for-3 from 3-point and Granger had two of the treys and Hill the other as the Pacers sailed off to a 21-10 lead eight minutes into the game. Hill finished the quarter with nine and Granger had eight as Indiana moved the ball quickly and efficiently around the perimeter.
The Magic, on the other hand, missed their first seven shots of the game. Turkoglu stopped the drought with a 3-pointer at the 8:35 mark, but Orlando shot only 30 percent for the period and was fortunate to trail only 23-14 when the buzzer sounded.
Davis shot Orlando back into the game in the second period. He hit three straight 18-footers from nearly the identical spot a step behind the foul line on his way to scoring 16 points in the quarter. Davis hit six of seven jumpers during one stretch, rebounding the only miss for a putback layup. Redick followed that with a driving layup and the Magic were within 31-28 with 7:04 left in the quarter.
For all of that, however, the best the Magic could do was pull within 38-36 on Davis' last 18-footer with 3:20 left in the quarter. Indiana, perhaps trying too hard to take advantage of the absence of Howard, constantly dribbled into traffic and turned the ball over 10 times in the half. Granger had four of the giveaways and
Hiibbert and Hill two each.
Still, the Pacers were good enough when they took care of the ball to shoot 52.9 percent (18 of 34) and build a 44-38 halftime advantage.
NOTES: Indiana led by as many as 29 in the second half. The Magic never led in the game. ... Indiana has won six straight road games, dating back to the regular season. ... Orlando had beaten Indiana four straight times at home during playoff games. Indiana C Roy Hibbert has 14 blocks in three playoff games. Ten of the blocks have been against Magic C Glen Davis. ... The Magic are in the playoffs for the sixth straight season, the longest active streak in the Eastern Conference.