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NBA Playoffs 2012: The Indiana Pacers Impress in 2nd Half

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NBA Playoffs 2012: The Indiana Pacers Impress in 2nd Half
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Better late than never.

In the second half of their Game 2 matchup with the Orlando Magic, the Indiana Pacers dialed up the intensity and broke away from the shorthanded Magic.

The first half played out much like the first half of Game 1: The Pacers opened up a lead, only to have the Magic chip away and eventually get in front.

Glen 'Big Baby" Davis once again put up a Dwight Howard-like performance and owned the first half with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Though the Pacers' halftime deficit was only two points, the general trend over the last six quarters of play had to be disconcerting.

When play resumed in the second half, however, the Pacers came out with renewed energy and intensity. 

Their effort was in full display in the third quarter, as they came away with 16 rebounds to match their total for the entire first half.

On offense, the Pacers finally attacked the rim.  This led to a number of free throws, and this time around, the Pacers took advantage by hitting 25 of 28 shots.

They also had 13 second-chance points in the third quarter alone, thoroughly outplaying the Magic and outscoring them 30-13.

On defense, Orlando's passes, that were previously successful, were broken up by the Pacers stepping into the passing lanes.  In the previous six quarters, the defense always seemed a step too slow—either allowing penetration into the paint or not closing out the passing lanes that left wide open three-point shots for Orlando.

The final 24 minutes of the game offered a glimpse of what most basketball fans envisioned the series would look like sans Dwight Howard, even when the Pacers' own big man, Roy Hibbert, was limited to 23 minutes due to foul trouble.

The Pacers proved to be too big and too determined for the visiting Magic.

Not everything was perfect, though. 

The Pacers still only shot 10 percent from beyond the arc and managed nine assists for the entire game.

Many of their shot attempts came either very early in the shot clock or involved too much one-on-one to create the shot, suggesting that the Pacers will need to work on ball movement for Game 3 on Wednesday.

Roy Hibbert also had difficulty establishing position in the paint against the much broader Davis.  On the rare occasions where Hibbert did, he was rewarded with a high percentage shot. 

The Pacers may need to get creative with how they keep their big man involved on offense: On one particular play, Hibbert received the ball facing the basket and easily drove past Davis for a shot attempt.

Yet, if the second half of Game 2 is any indication, it looks like the Pacers are ready to put some distance between themselves and the Magic on their way to the second round.

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