Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Pacers Dominate Third Quarter (Again), Blow Out Magic 97-74.

The Orlando Magic kept it competitive in the first before again being absolutely dominated in the third quarter, leading to a 97-74 Pacers victory and a 2-1 series lead.

“It was a very, very tough day,” Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters following the game.

Danny Granger led all scorers with 26 points while Glen Davis had 22 points for the Magic.

Early on in the game, the Magic were somehow able to stay competitive despite what seemed like an overwhelming statistical advantage for the Pacers. The Pacers jumped out to an 8-0 lead and pushed the advantage to 18-7.  Indiana made nine of their first 10 shots. However, the Magic, largely due to Glen Davis’s offense, stayed with striking distance and trailed by just two before the Pacers scored the last four points of the quarter, pushing their lead to six at the break.

The Magic probably should have found themselves fortunate to only be down six considering the Pacers were shooting 52.9% from the field and Orlando had made just two three-pointers.Things began to change in the second half. The Pacers rattled off the first six points of the half , pushing the lead to 12. As the Pacers continued to get out in transition, the Magic continued to struggle on offense and they watched the lead grow to as large as 23 in the third quarter. The Pacers cruised from there.

The Pacers have been powered by David West during the first two games of the series, but the Magic did a decent job of taking him away in game 3, limiting him to just four points and eight rebounds. They used Glen Davis on him much more than they did in the first two games, so the Pacers went straight to Roy Hibbet, who has an overwhelming size advantage. Hibbert responded by scoring 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds, easily his best offensive outing of the series. Dannny Granger, who’s been extremely inefficient over the first two games, turned things around Wednesday, scoring 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting.

After the game, Van Gundy again was displeased with the lack of energy from Orlando’s starters, who were again terrible in the first and third quarters. Ryan Anderson, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu gave the Magic virtually nothing. They scored a combined 27 points on 9-of-28 (32.1%), grabbed only eight rebounds and turned the ball over nine times. That’s just pathetic.

Overall, the numbers show Indiana’s dominance. They shot an effective field goal percentage of 51.9%, posted an offensive rating of 110.5 and and had an offensive rebounding percentage of 31.7%. Orlando, on the other hand, post an effective field goal percentage of 45.8%, an offensive rating of 81.4 and grabbed just 13.2% of all available offensive rebounds.

“Well, it was both ends of the court,”  Van Gundy said. “We just didn’t play well on either end of the floor.”

  • Hibbert also continued to do an excellent job of defending the paint – Orlando had just 22 points in the paint while the Pacers had 42. Indiana again got out in transition, something they’ve pointed to as a key for them since this series was announced, scoring 18 fast break points. Orlando laid a goose egg in that category.
  • Speaking of goose eggs, Ryan Anderson, who finished with seven points on 2-of-6 shooting, was scoreless until the fourth quarter.
  • Granger also grabbed 9 rebounds, helping the Pacers to a dominating performance on the glass, outrebounding the Magic 46-33.
  • Quentin Richardson was Orlando’s leading rebounder with 10.
  • Earl Clark continues to be a bright spot defensively and on the glass (five rebounds in just under 18 minutes) but the Magic offense, which is bad enough to begin with, looks even more stagnant with him on the court. Still Clark has had a positive impact on the series for the most part and that may warrant giving him more minutes.
  • Glen Davis had another big game offensively – he was much better hitting jumpers on the pick-and-pops, which, as Van Gundy pointed out, is about the only shot the Magic can get. Davis did shoot better – he was 10-of-18 from the field – but he grabbed only four rebounds in the game. Combine that with Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson, who pulled down one board a piece and that’s six(only six!) rebounds from you starting front court.
  • J.J. Redick is the only Magic played who seems aggressive and ready to challenge the Pacers defense. He had 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting and other than Davis, appears to be the only Magic player playing with a lot of energy. With another subpar game from Jason Richardson, it may be time to insert Redick into the starting lineup. The Magic need as much firepower and energy as they can get at the start of halves.

Next Up: Game 4 is Saturday at 2:00 on EST.

Final Thought: The Magic put on an embarrassing display. No one can blame them for losing to the Pacers, but they shouldn’t continue to get outworked like they have.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)

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Tags: 2012 NBA Playoffs Danny Granger Darren Collison David West Indiana Pacers Paul George Roy Hibbert

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