East Conference Round 1 Preview: Indiana vs Orlando

Posted by By at 27 April, at 18 : 55 PM Print

East Conference Round 1 Preview: Indiana vs Orlando

Playoffs are here! The dust has settled for the number 3 and 6 seed matchup. Indiana (3rd seed) will be playing Orlando (6th seed)

In the condensed regular season, the head to head results are:
24/01: Orlando @ Indiana – Orlando won 102 – 83
29/01: Indiana @ Orlando – Orlando won 106 – 85
04/02: Orlando @ Indiana – Orlando won 85 – 81
11/03: Indiana @ Orlando – Orlando won 107 – 94

Orlando won the the matchup 4-0 in the regular season, however all those games included Orlando’s Dwight Howard, who is now out for the season following back surgery. This will add spice to this matchups as Indiana won’t be as prepared as they would have been if they trialled their team against a Dwight-less Magic.

Indiana would be coming into this series full of confidence, winning their last 12 out of 15 games in the month of April. While Orlando are struggling with injuries, working out their new game plan and learning how to get stops without Dwight considering they have given away 100 points in five of the last seven games.

The biggest matchup in this series will be between Hedo Turkoglu/Quentin Richardson and the Danny Granger/Paul George combo.
Turk has just come from an facial injury, played his first game and did not look out of rhythm. He shot well scoring 4 threes and played a solid 29 minutes which will hold good stead. The reason why this is an important matchup is that Granger and George are huge players at the SF position and are hard to defend. Turk has scored an average of 9 points in his three games against Pacers this season and Richardson scoring around 5 points each game. Whereas Granger has been around the 20 points mark and George scoring 15-20 points. As you can see there is a lopsided matchup here. If Turk, Q and potentially¬†Clark can put stops on these guys in a team that struggles defensively without Dwight, then they may have a chance to get the win. But it won’t come easy.

The key players in each team are:

Darren Collison (Pacers) – Collison is the play maker, he will have the tough task of defending Nelson who will be looking to attack. If Collison can beat Nelson then the game would very well be in their court. Collison needs to be quick, make smart decisions and get Granger, George and West open shots.

Jameer Nelson (Magic) – Jameer is and always will be the barometer of his team. If he attacks, Orlando scores better. If he is on the back foot, Orlando struggles. Now without Dwight, Orlando really is now Jameer Nelson’s team. He will need to constantly attack the lane and score or create opportunities for the prolific long distance shooters in Anderson, Richardson and Redick or give Big baby easy layups and dunks. Nelson’s performance will be crucial to Magic’s success in this series. The question is “Can he handle the pressure?”

Roy Hibbert (Pacers) – Considering Magic are thin in the Center position. Hibbert can be the deciding factor in this series. Hibbert has been known to get into early foul trouble as he plays the least amount of minutes on average out of all the starting centers (29 mins per game) If Hibbert can stay on court. Magic will struggle to get pass him or get the offensive board. Hibbert needs to curb big baby’s influence in the game.

Ryan Anderson (Magic) – Rhino has enjoyed a huge rise to NBA stardom this season, a favourite to win the most improved award, the imposing 6’10 PF leads the league in 3pointers scored and attempted and has a huge presence on the offensive glass, coming 6th in most offensive rebounds. Anderson will need to score his threes against a tall Indiana Pacers outfit. His shooting success, outside and inside will be crucial as well as trying to stop West and Hansborough on the defensive side.

David West (Pacers) – David West is such an imposing figure. He was brought into the team after a long stint in New Orleans. West will be able to battle Anderson and Clark easily with his size. West needs to also create scoring opportunities for himself as he has a nice range as well. West needs to be accountable and not allow Anderson to score easily.

Jason Richardson (Magic) – Richo had a terrible performance in the last playoff series and will want to prove himself this year. Richo had an unpredictable season this year, fighting soreness, scoring slumps and scoring bursts. Richo is capable of exploding and scoring 20+ in a game but he can also miss 90% of his shots in another game. Richo along with Redick will need to fight George and Granger and scoring hugely if Magic are going to win offensively. It may be a stretch but they just simply need to move the ball around until they get good looks. If Richo can turn it on. Look out.

This series will be decided on how well both teams play offensively. If Magic struggled to get stops during the season, they will be looking to beat teams offensively and they are capable of doing so. If Orlando move the ball around well, score over 100 and get a few stops on Indiana, they can win. If Indiana can take advantage of the poor defence and attack the lane, and curb the influence of the opposition shooters. Then Indiana should take this series home. This series will be a fantastic treat as it will most likely be a high scoring affair between the two, with Orlando hoping to create a dream run against the odds and Indiana try to prove that they are contenders for the title.

I predict the series to go for six games with Indiana Pacers winning 4-2.

Tune in!

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