Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers
Tip off: 7 PM EST
Spread: IND -9.5
M/L: IND -600, ORL +475
Betting Lines from Bookmaker
Game One: Saturday 7 PM
Indiana vs. Orlando
Game 1 – Sat. April 28, Orlando at Indiana, 7:00 p.m., ESPN?Game 2 – Mon. April 30, Orlando at Indiana, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV?Game 3 – Wed. May 2, Indiana at Orlando, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV?Game 4 – Sat. May 5, Indiana at Orlando, 2:00 p.m., ESPN?Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Orlando at Indiana, TBD?Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Indiana at Orlando, TBD?Game 7 * Sun. May 13, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
SERIES PRICE: Indiana -1000, Orlando +700
No one is really giving the Magic a chance in this series, and should they? The Magic are likely without both Hedo Turkoglu and three time DPOY Dwight Howard. They will be lucky to win a single game in this series.
Roy Hibbert looks to be on the verge of having a monster series. The Magic may have to counter with Ryan Anderson, because there is no way that Glen “Don’t Call Me Big Baby” Davis is going to be able to cover the 7’2″ Georgetown product. In addition to Hibbert, expect Paul George’s athleticism to give the Magic fits, as they try to counter with a smaller and less athletic Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick.
The Magic are going to have to hit a lot of threes to keep this competitive. Anderson will have to have a huge series, and they are going to have to find a way to get something from Jameer Nelson. Nelson has long shown the ability to make huge contributions, but fades for entire games at times, and if Nelson can remain aggressive, the Magic may push this to six, but it won’t go seven, nor will the Magic win.
The Pacers will be looking forward past this to a matchup against #2 seeded Miami. The Pacers give the Heat a lot of matchup problems, and once again Roy Hibbert should be huge. This series against the Magic will merely serve as a tuneup, and I fully expect the Playoffs to be a huge breakout campaign for Hibbert this season. George Hill will have to continue to show why the Pacers were willing to deal Kawhi Leonard to obtain him. Hill has shown the ability to make key defensive stops and is an ignition to transition play when the Pacers put him in the game. Gregg Popovich coveted him in San Antonio, and he has continued to show why on a consistent basis.
Darren Collison is going to have to utilize his speed advantage over Nelson. Collison should be able to get to the basket at will and create for David West, Hibbert, and UNC product Tyler Hansbrough. Hansbrough has continued to improve, but as to whether he can ever emerge as a starter’s caliber player remains to be seen.
The Magic will begin looking ahead to the Draft, and hoping that their middle of the first round pick is good enough to land some quality talent. Marquis Teague and Kendall Marshall both represent realistic options, while trading up to land Austin Rivers is not out of the question either. The Magic need an upgrade at point guard, and the Jameer Nelson experiment has run its course. Nelson is coming up on 30 years of age, and not getting any better, nor younger obviously. He isn’t a long term answer for the Magic, and with the aforementioned point guard prospects in the Draft, among others, the Magic could emerge a far better team next season.
As to whether Dwight Howard remains in Orlando for the remainder of his contract or demands a trade, is anyone’s guess. Howard has jerked Orlando around enough, and most fans are ready for the talented big man to leave. Otis Smith is likely on his way out, as is Stan Van Gundy. The Magic are about to start over from ground zero, while the Pacers are only building towards something better.
Prediction: Pacers in 5