There was 3:18 left in the second quarter. Dwight Howard was heading to the bench. He had just picked up his third foul of the half, and had only six points and two rebounds to show for it – not to mention a technical foul.
He looked a man deflated.
And the one who was deflating him was Roy Hibbert.
Through two periods of play, Hibbert was not only keeping Howard in check, he was putting on a show, scoring 17 points to go along with six rebounds in the first half.
But, it wouldn’t last.
Hibbert would find himself in foul trouble and would score only two points in the second half, finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds, as he watched Howard match his night in quarters three and four alone. Howard’s 19 points and 10 rebounds in the second helped him finish the night with 25 points and 12 rebounds, but it was fellow Magician Rashard Lewis who really helped the visiting Magic overcome their halftime deficit and collect their ninth win of the season.
Lewis’ 13-point third quarter, which included nine straight Magic points on 3-of-3 3-point shooting, would give his team a five-point lead heading into the fourth. He finished with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 5-of-7 from the 3-point line.
While the Pacers played an even final quarter, even taking an 86-85 lead back when James Posey hit a 3-pointer with 45.6 second to go in the game, it would last but a play.
On the very next possession Orlando’s Jameer Nelson hit a baseline jumper, including a foul, to give the Magic an 88-86 lead. Posey would try a potentially lead changing 3-pointer after the fact, but it bounced away as the Magic held on, winning 90-86 after Vince Carter hit a pair of free-throws to bury the now 5-6 Pacers.
Brandon Rush had 14 points… Danny Granger scored 13 points on just 5-of-18 shooting… Jeff Foster contributed 19 minutes and kept the Pacers in the game with his hustle late in the fourth… Point guard Darren Collison missed his third straight game, giving backup T.J. Ford a chance to start… Ford finished with 10 points, nine rebound and five assists.