Pacers take halftime to heart to even series with Magic

Trailing at the break, the Pacers outscored Orlando 30-13 and then held off the Magic the rest of the way to bring their first round series to even at one-game a piece.

INDIANAPOLIS - There was a bit of Snow White and maybe a tad of Bobby Knight going on behind the yellow doors of the Pacers locker room when the first half clock hit zero. 

"We really had to look ourselves in the mirror and ask if we really wanted to win this game tonight," said forward Danny Granger of the team, who trailed at the break by two to the Magic.

Don't forget its Orlando who already had a win under their belt in the best-of-seven first round NBA Playoffs series. 

A self reflection then turned into dialogue-perhaps a little more intense than might have greeted a 15-minute rest.

"After some spirited conversation we came out and really looked like a different team," said Danny Granger. 

Indeed the weird mix of locker room fodder proved to be a critical turning point for the contest as the Pacers outscored the Magic 30-13 in the third quarter to put the game squarely into their corner.

Unlike Saturday night, there would be no fourth quarter letdown as the Pacers went on to win it 93-78 in front of a sold out crowd Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The best-of-seven series is now tied at one as Indiana now heads to Orlando for Games Three and Four to be played on Wednesday and Saturday, respectively. 

"Much better than it was the other night, I'll tell you that" said forward Tyler Hansbrough of the team's mood following the series-tying win. "Everybody's pretty high, our confidence is there, we just have to go to Orlando and hopefully get some wins down there."

Hansbrough, along with the rest of his teammates weren't so confident in that following the first 24 minutes of basketball. A nine-point first quarter lead diminished behind another strong three-point effort by the Magic who also frustrated the Pacers offensively in taking the halftime lead.

"I'm not going to lie, I started panicking a little bit," said Hansbrough of halftime. "As a group we were like 'Alright, we've got to get it together. We really need this win.'"

Urgency mixed with a stronger intensity helped to make that happen. Midway through the third quarter the Pacers used some hot shooting to go on a game-changing 14-0 run that took their one point lead and pushed it to 15.

During the twelve minute span the Pacers outscored the Magic by 17 which was aided by their ability to clean up on the glass. While Indiana shot an average 45 percent from the field they collected 16 rebounds compared to just four by Orlando, including eight offensive rebounds that led to 13 second-chance points.

"It's part of our smash mouth basketball attack," said head coach Frank Vogel of the rebounding advantage. "We want two bigs crashing the glass at all times and when our wings have opportunities to do so we want that as well."

A third quarter lead might not have been enough to calm Pacers fans, who watched the team get outscored 11-0 in the final minutes in a Game One loss. Unlike that contest, however, the Pacers were solid in defending their lead, matching the Magic at 21 on the scoreboard to seal the victory.

"That's the way we should play," said forward Paul George. "That second half is how we have to carry ourselves throughout the whole series."

Maybe next time they won't have to look in the mirror to do that.

PHOTO GALLERIES