As the Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers series draws to its predictable conclusion one thing remains abundantly clear.
The Magic believe in themselves more than anybody else does or will.
The Pacers blew a 19 point fourth quarter lead but staved off a furious Magic run to capture the game in overtime 101-99.
David West led all scorers with 26 points and 12 rebounds. He become the focal point of the Pacer offense in the second half shaking off the early double teams the Magic attacked him with in the first half. West took control in the 3rd quarter scoring 12 and extending the Pacer lead to that same total at the end of the period.
If West was the star of the third quarter, Glen Davis was Haley’s Comet in the fourth. Davis scored 12 of his 24 points in the final period and chipped in 4 more in the OT period. He was brilliant and unfortunately he has to carry the weight of missing the final shot in OT on a turnaround jumper that would have tied the game.
“I got a GREAT shot off. It was short” said Davis after the game “It was on line, it was right there just short”.
Davis got help down the stretch from his teammates to almost pull off the improbable comeback.
J.J. Redick hit a game tying 3 that sent the game into the overtime session. Redick finished the game with 11 points and 7 assists. His ability and willingness to be a play maker down the stretch got the Magic easy baskets that closed the 19 point gap in just over 8 minutes time.
Jason Richardson set the pace early for Orlando and he finished with 25 points. His early shot making kept the Magic hanging around until their fourth quarter explosion.
It’s it difficult deciding how to interupt the game for the Pacers. Blowing a 19 point 4th quarter lead is not the “stuff” champions are made of but gutting out the win the way they did is.
So many Pacers played a hand in their victory from Danny Granger (21 points & 7 rebounds), Darren Collison (11 points & 9 assists) to George Hill (12 points & 5 assists).
Hill hit two clutch jumpers in the final period and drained the game winning free throws on a questionable foul call against Jameer Nelson. Hill said the following after the game:
I was just determined to try and win…We just needed someone else to step up and try to make something happen. My teammates believed in me, and I got to knock down a couple of big shots. I got to ride my teammate’s coat tails and fill in a little bit
The Pacers depth is what makes them so tough. Hill had 1 point entering 4th quarter and finished with 12 including the game winning points at the line.
Orlando’s focus now turns to just trying to stay alive. Nelson said “We just have to go up to Indiana and get one…You don’t get two wins at one time, you have to win one.”
Coach Van Gundy added the following regarding his team’s chances now down 3-1:
They all know the score. It’s 3-1 and it’s a matter of mindset…Based on what they did down 19 points today, my guess is that they’re not going to quit on anything. They will come out and play on Tuesday night: damn hard and very well.
As I noted in my playoff preview there is no shame in loosing to Indiana. The fact remains Indiana is better and thus the better team is winning the series.
I don’t doubt Coach Van Gundy at all, but how many times can their effort be stellar but they ultimately come up short? They are out of lifelines as their next loss in this series will be their last of the season.
All they have is them and despite their best efforts it simply isn’t enough.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com