This matchup between the 3rd seeded Pacers and the 6th seeded Magic is really anti-climatic. Without Dwight Howard playing, the Pacers would be remiss if they didn't handle this group of Magic quickly. Part of me wishes Dwight was playing just to see if Indiana is actually ready to take a baby step after scaring the Bulls in last years' playoffs.
Pacers: I like this balanced Pacers squad led by Danny Granger, but it's not just him. They have David West resembling the guy before the knee injury, and this team plays defense also. Call me what you want, but I like that Hibbert has made himself into a usable 5 in the league. I would have loved to see him play against Dwight even if it would only be a measuring stick game. The Pacers have enough scorers (George, Barbosa, etc.) and a veteran in George Hill that can help this team in the playoffs.
Who has to step up: David West. Yes, he's the veteran on this team, but West has got to lead the way. Can he get this team past this Orlando squad and ready to play in the 2nd round of the playoffs?
Magic: It's been a year for the Magic. I do have to give them this, they could have folded and gone fishing, but they decided to play and make the playoffs and whether Dwight plays or not, these boys are not going to back down. Ryan Anderson is balling,....literally balling. Orlando can make this interesting but I don't think that they have the weapons to win this series. I can see them winning 2 games, but that's about it.
Who has to step up: Jameer Nelson. Maybe this is the easy person to pick, but a few years back Nelson was BALLING and he made this team that much more dangerous because Dwight was behind him. To say that he has regressed would but a bit of an understatement. If Nelson can find some of that old magic (literally) then the Magic have a chance to take this to 7 games.
Outcome: I got the Pacers in 5.