A dominating third quarter performance helped the Indiana Pacers pick up a 93-78 Game 2 victory over the Orlando Magic to even the series at 1-1. Indiana outscored Orlando 30-13 in the quarter, including 13 second chance points.
“I thought we did a good job of making some adjustments in the locker room,” Pacers power forward David West said following the game. “As a group, we just have to be aggressive. Ultimately, that’s what carried us tonight.”
West, an eight-year veteran, was one of three Pacers to score 18 points. The former All-Star also hauled down 11 rebounds and dished out a game-high four assists. West recorded four of his 11 boards in the third quarter as the Pacers outrebounded Orlando 16-4. During the regular season, Indiana was one of the best third quarter teams in the league, ranking second behind Philadelphia in third quarter margin at +2.8 points.
“I thought we were more ourselves in terms of the tempo and aggressiveness level of each individual guy,” West added.
47 of the Pacers 93 points were a result of second chance opportunities or fast breaks.
“A lot of it is that our starters are coming out of the locker room with nothing in terms of energy,” Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy said following the loss. “They beat us with their effort and energy tonight and that’s not acceptable.”
Indiana head coach Frank Vogel accredits his team’s high energy level and aggressiveness to West, who the Pacers signed as a free agent in the offseason.
“He’s leading our team right now in competitive spirit, will and desire, and those are things that don’t show up in a box score,” Vogel said. “He’s a playoff tested veteran and we are hopeful that he is going to lead us very far in these playoffs.”
West advanced to the postseason four times during his eight years with the New Orleans Hornets and understands the Pacers can’t become complacent after the commanding win.
“There’s room for us to improve,” West said. “I think we just need to come out focused. It’s going to be a tough environment down there in Florida.”
Game 3 will be played on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. EST in Orlando.