Despite hanging on in the first half, the Orlando Magic struggled to find a go-to guy, secure rebounds and limit turnovers in the closing minutes. The underdog squad lost 16 possessions and allowed 15 Indiana offensive boards.
Besides marksman J.J. Redick and bruiser Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who were both quite inefficient from the field, the Magic didn't receive a consistent scoring threat. Davis recorded 18 points and 10 rebounds off 5-of-16 shooting from the field, while Redick chipped in 13 points off the bench.
Most Improved Player candidate Ryan Anderson couldn't stay out of dreaded foul trouble, making a shallow front-court roster weaker. The Magic starting power forward finished with 11 points. In addition, Jameer Nelson, who shined in Orlando's Game 1 win, had trouble containing athletic guards Darren Collison and George Hill and only provided 12 points and three assists.
For Indiana, the story of the night was capitalizing on the absence of All-NBA Dwight Howard. The long, aggressive Pacers dominated the glass, adding numerous second-chance points to their winning effort. Veterans Danny Granger and David West, along with prospects Paul George and George Hill, scored over 16 points and took advantage of Orlando's lack of a true shot-blocker.
Let's recap Game 2 from Indiana.
ESPN's J.A. Adande is, of course, referring to the Clippers' thrilling comeback Sunday night:
Pacers up 17 with 90 seconds left. If not for Clippers-Grizzlies, the channel would already be changed
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) May 1, 2012
Alex Kennedy from Hoopsworld acknowledges David West's fantastic performance:
David West was a perfect signing for Indiana. He's dominating the Magic. West touches the ball on almost every possession. Great leader too.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 1, 2012
NBA Guru brings up a valid point:
Indiana's defense been relentless this half. Orlando also not hitting anything. Combination of 2 = Pacers coasting.
— NBA Guru (@NBAGuru) May 1, 2012
Grades for Pacers
David West: A
David West was exceptional in Monday night's crucial win to even their first-round series at 1-1. The 6'9" former New Orleans Hornets star knocked down 18 points, grabbed eleven boards and swatted two shots.
His energetic, strong style of play proved too much for the one-dimensional Orlando Magic to handle.
Supporting Cast for Pacers: A-
While the Pacer's bench wasn't as productive as usual, the entire starting cast, besides center Roy Hibbert, scored over 16 points. Swingmen Paul George, George Hill and Danny Granger have one primary assignment—and that is to score the basketball.
Well, this trio did just that and propelled the squad to their first playoff win this season.
Roy Hibbert: C-
Coming into this matchup, first-time All-Star Roy Hibbert was expected to dominate Orlando's smaller big men. The Magic, however, have kept this 7'2" behemoth in check so far, as Hibbert scored only four points. Ouch.
Considering that the opposing center is only 6'8", Hibbert must become a key contributor.
Grades for Magic
Jameer Nelson: C+
Nelson struggled immensely in Monday night's matchup, as "Mighty Mouse" made only four baskets out of his 13 attempts.
Additionally, the 6'0" point guard couldn't stop Indiana's speedsters Darren Collison and George Hill and only dished out three assists.
Glen Davis: B
Davis' game, even though inefficient, kept Orlando in this playoff match. His hustle and defense on Hibbert was spectacular, but his offense left much to be desired.
Jason Richardson: D-
Two nights after nailing a three-point field goal, which essentially won Game 1 for Orlando, the former Michigan State star contributed only two points in 29 minutes.
If Orlando wants to advance to the next round, the Magic need to receive more scoring from their shooting guard.
Game MVP: David West
West had a near perfect game Monday night. The tough, gritty power forward battled all night long, and it became apparent that he would not let his team fall once again at home.
This series will travel back to Orlando when Indiana faces the Magic on Wednesday, May 2nd at 7:30. PM ET.