Pacers Vs. Magic: Orlando Strikes Early, Keeps Indiana At Arm's Length

March 11, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) shoots over Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) and power forward David West (21) during the first quarter of a game at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The Magic picked and rolled their way to an easy, easy win over the Pacers.

The Indiana Pacers showed occasional signs of life, but coming off a draining loss to the Heat the previous night, didn't have much of a shot against a deadly, if somewhat spotty, Orlando Magic team. Orlando took a double-digit lead early, surrendered it only momentarily and only in part, and rolled to a 107-94 win with plenty of room for garbage time.

The Orlando attack to open the game was plain, simple and impossible for Indiana to stop. J.J. Redick and Dwight Howard ran the pick-and-roll over and over and over until Orlando had 36 points to end the first quarter with that tandem accounting for 20 of them. Indiana, one of the league's better defensive teams, just couldn't be bothered to stop that predictable but maddeningly effective play. Howard's 30-point, 13-rebound, five-assist, four-steal, [catches breath] one-block performance overshadowed by trade/non-trade rumors. J.J. Redick, though, really shined according to Orlando Pinstriped Post:

Redick, in a spot-start for the injured Jason Richardson, may have stolen the show, though: the six-year veteran shot 7-of-14 from the floor and dished a career-best nine assists. Despite George's significant height advantage and the Pacers' defensive pedigree--they entered the game as the league's seventh-most efficient defense--Indiana simply couldn't take anything away in the pick-and-roll, resulting in the 36-22 first-quarter carnage.

Indiana did make the Magic sweat for a second. Darren Collison's rapid ways led the Pacers to a 12-0 run to end the first half, halving Orlando's massive lead in a matter of minutes. The difference shrunk to as little as nine points in the early second half, but the Magic promptly stormed back ahead, never to be caught. Howard went back to work in the paint, the shooters shot, and Orlando had the game wrapped up by the early fourth quarter.

After that, it was Daniel Orton time and, uncertain as times may be in Orlando, the Magic got to cruise to a relatively relaxing blowout victory over an Eastern Conference rival. They moved to 27-15 and gained some separation on their third seed, while Indiana fell to 23-16, two and a half games back of Orlando with Philadelphia in between.

Check out more Magic coverage at Orlando Pinstriped Post and visit Indy Cornrows for more on the Pacers.

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