Pacers aim to bounce back in Game 2 vs. Magic

Maybe it won't be so easy after all.

The talented but unproven Indiana Pacers came into their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with Orlando as a heavy favorite thanks in large part to the absence of injured Magic center Dwight Howard.

Now the Pacers will be fighting for their playoff lives as they get ready to host Game 2.

Jason Richardson buried the go-ahead three-pointer, part of a run of 11 unanswered Magic points to the end the game, as Orlando rallied to stun Indiana, 81-77, in Game 1 on Saturday.

Despite lacking the presence of Howard, the reigning three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year who is sidelined after season-ending back surgery, Orlando prevented Indiana from scoring in the game's final 4:05.

Howard's replacement in the middle, Glen Davis, had 16 points to go with 13 rebounds while Richardson and Jameer Nelson finished with 17 points apiece for the Magic, who have won five in a row at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"I thought we executed real well. We did a great job," said Davis. "It was tough to get easy buckets. It was tough out there."

Hedo Turkoglu started for Orlando for the first time since having cheekbone surgery for a facial fracture on April 7. He finished with nine points on 3- of-10 shooting.

Roy Hibbert's career-high nine blocks for Indiana tied for the second-most in NBA playoff history, and David West led all scorers with 19 points, but the Pacers missed their final nine shots to drop the first test in this best-of- seven series.

"It's not in my nature to panic," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said on Sunday. "It's not in this team's nature to panic. Our deficiencies last night are very fixable. Things we've done all year. We're still a very confident bunch."

Nelson began the comeback on Saturday with a bucket, and Richardson made it a two-point game with a trey following Danny Granger's turnover. The Pacers missed another five shots -- and two free-throw opportunities -- before Richardson connected on another triple, this one to give his team the lead at 78-77 with 1:04 remaining.

Nelson then hit a pair at the line to push the Magic's edge to three, and Indiana missed several chances late, the last of which was Granger accepted an inbounds pass after a timeout with about 10 seconds to play before traveling. J.J. Redick finally sealed it for Orlando by making 1-of-2 freebies.

"It was a bad series, Granger said when talking about the waning moments of Game 1. "The good thing about this is it's a seven-game series. We missed a lot of our free-throws and had some struggles, but it's just the first game."

The Pacers, who finished behind the Bulls in the Central Division, haven't moved past the first round of the playoffs since 2005. They've met the Magic twice in the postseason, the last time in 1995 with the Magic winning in seven games in the East finals.

Game 3 will take place on Wednesday in Orlando.