First-round preview: No 3. Pacers vs. No. 6 Magic
It's a tale of two teams: One, Indiana, has quietly put together an elite season behind a big front line, a deep bench and an opportunistic defense. The other, Orlando, has had its chemistry rocked by squabbling between coach Stan Van Gundy and star center Dwight Howard, and its roster depleted by the loss of Howard to season-ending back surgery. Orlando took three out of four from the Pacers in the regular season, a stat that means little now with Howard out of the lineup.
The untested Pacers have to be ecstatic to see the Howard-less Magic in the first round. Look for Indiana to attack Orlando in the paint and try to control the tempo of the game. The Magic's shooters should be good for one home win, but that's about it.