INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 28: Glen Davis #11 of the Orlando Magic tries to split the defense of Tyler Hansbrough #50 and Darren Collison #2 of the Indiana Pacers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2012 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Orlando won the game 81-77 to take a 1-0 series lead. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The Indiana Pacers have used their bench extensively throughout the season with mixed results. The ten man rotation certainly helped the Pacers avoid playing any one player too many minutes throughout the busy 66-game schedule.
The parts have changed at times (add Leandro Barbosa, switch George Hill for Darren Collison, insert Lou Amundson full time) but the end result has been the same. When they are aggressive at both ends and able to get buckets around the rim in transition or otherwise, the Pacers are a near lock to win.
There are also times when they absolutely stagnate and struggle to score which was the case in the first half of Game 2 and in Game 1 in general. Conrad Brunner breaks down what the Pacers need from the bench while they adjust to the playoffs, including Frank Vogel's expectations.
"We need our second unit," Coach Frank Vogel said. "We can't play our starters the full game. It has come and gone throughout the year. Sometimes our starters are the guys that are struggling and the second unit picks them up. We'll keep the normal rotation and if a certain unit isn't getting it done, then we'll adjust."
In the second half of Game 2, Vogel emulsified the second unit into the action, adding them into the action one at a time. First, Hansbrough, then Barbosa and finally Collison which allows one player to get in the flow of the game before adding another. That's in contrast to bringing in four fresh players within a possession or two and hoping they are ready to go.
The importance of Game 3 suggests Vogel will continue with the latter approach, leaning more on his starting unit which, despite plenty of room for improvement, has played well overall against Orlando.