These teams did play four times in the regular season, and Orlando did win three of them. In short, each team blew each other out once, and then Orlando pulled out two very close ones.
They did all that, of course, with Dwight Howard.
You might have heard the news, but Dwight is done for the season with back problems, just another chapter in the bizarre saga that is the 2012 edition Dwight Howard. As a result, the Magic went 5-9 in the month of April against a thoroughly average schedule.
The Pacers, on the other hand, went 12-3 in April against an admittedly easier schedule, but they did score a win over Oklahoma City, who you might have heard is no slouch. More than that, the Pacers were already in the drivers seat for the three spot before the month started when they were playing much stiffer competition. They just took care of business in April.
I kind of hesitate saying this, because it didn't work out for the Blackhawks, but I think the Pacers might cruise through this one pretty easily. They've got home court advantage,* they're peaking at the right time, and they really haven't been bitten by the injury bug all year. The team really should be poised to beat a Howard-less Orlando. Although, honestly, I think after all the drama, they would have beaten Orlando with Howard, too.
*And, again, they are playing Orlando. That's a whole hell of a lot further away than Chicago like last year when the building was 50-50 at best.
The problem would seem to be that the second round most likely holds Miami. The Pacers typically play Miami tough, but I don't think they've got four wins out of seven in them. If Carmelo could happen to pull off the upset, I like the Pacers chances better. They just beat New York to start the month, and honestly I think the Pacers play much better team defense than Miami, so I like the chances of the Pacers making people other than Melo beat them. Which the Knicks are not known as a deep team. Of course, neither is Miami, and that's where the Pacers would have to try to win in that series.
Let's not get too deep into the future, though. First things first. Let's bounce the Magic back to Florida and let them get an early start trying to figure out how this post-Dwight era is going to work.