INDIANAPOLIS — What do the Orlando Magic need to do to win Game 2 of their playoff series against the Indiana Pacers tonight?
Here are five points of emphasis:
1. Glen Davis on the blocks: In Orlando’s Game 1 win, Davis did a superb job denying much taller Roy Hibbert optimal position in the low post. According to the website HoopData, Hibbert attempted just six shots within 3 feet of the rim. Davis needs to utilize his lower center of gravity and better strength, and he needs to impede Hibbert’s progress as Hibbert runs down the floor at the beginning of Pacers possessions. Remember, the Boston Celtics did this effectively when they defended Dwight Howard during the 2010 Eastern Conference finals, and Davis, of course, was a part of that Celtics team.
2. Stay together, stay hungry: The Magic have been more unified since Howard was ruled out for the postseason because of back surgery. That unity served them well when they faced deficits and a scoring draught in Game 1. Tonight, the Magic cannot allow themselves to be satisfied with just one victory in Indianapolis.
3. Improve the shot selection: The Magic went almost five minutes of the fourth quarter without scoring a single point, and the offense struggled at other times. The Magic need to attempt higher-percentage shots whenever possible. Davis hit some key midrange jumpers in Game 1, going 3-for-4 from 10-15 feet. But he went 1-for-7 from 16-23 feet, and the Magic don’t want him shooting from that distance. Same goes for Earl Clark, who went 0-for-3 from 16-23 feet.
4. Pick spots to rest Jameer Nelson: Nelson is the focal point of the Magic offense now, even though Hedo Turkoglu’s return helps with the ball-handling. But the Magic didn’t get much from backup point guard Chris Duhon in Game 1. Nelson played just under 38 minutes in Game 1, and he might need to play at least that much in Game 2. Stan Van Gundy must try to use his timeouts judiciously to get Nelson additional rest.
5. Help against West: David West went 8-for-14 from the field in Game 1, and Ryan Anderson had difficulty guarding him. (By the way, Anderson did a good job on Hibbert when Anderson guarded Hibbert at times.) If anything, the Pacers need to give West the ball more. The Magic might need to ask Nelson and Jason Richardson to “duck in” and double-team West when West begins to post-up.
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