(If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that my playoff series predictions can range from lengthy to long-winded. However, this will not be one of those times, this series does not warrant it.)
The Indiana Pacers have entered the postseason, as the third seed in the Eastern Conference, with little fanfare. National media markets rarely cover small market teams unless they are excelling far beyond their means, which, honestly, the Pacers have done. Well, not exactly. They should be as good as they are, they made the right moves and have a head coach who is legitimately worthy of the Coach of the Year award. Everything about this team screams almost contender.
If circumstances hadn’t conspired to spite this whole series it might be one of the best ones in the entirety of the first round. Alas, it won’t be. The Orlando Magic are completely impotent without Dwight Howard, who will miss the playoffs, and the Olympics, after undergoing lower back surgery. Orlando with field a ragtag team of stagnate perimeter players, Stan Van Gundy is want to have his team jack up 3’s galore, with the likes of Glen Davis (who is probable for game one with a sprained right ankle) and Earl Clark holding down the middle. Eww.
Orlando has problem and Howard, though he is a headache and has caused the most drama in the Magic Kingdom since Shaq, has simply been good enough to mask those issues, on the court at least. This is a team going nowhere fast. They have assembled a plethora of sub par talent around their superstar. Otis Smith clearly took a page out of Danny Ferry’s playbook.
Indiana will win this series. It shouldn’t even be a contest.
Doyle Rader predicts: Pacers defeat the Magic 4-0
Travis Huse predicts: Pacers defeat the Magic 4-1