Game Day 52 sees the Magic face Indiana in Orlando. The Pacers are chasing an automatic playoff spot as the Magic aim for a play-in position.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12 midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS THE MAGIC FACE INDIANA IN ORLANDO
The Pacers last played on Wednesday night in a free scoring game, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves by 137-141. Seven Indiana players made double figure scoring. Aaron Holiday led the Wizards in scoring, coming from the bench for 22 points. TJ McConnell made a double-double with 19 points and 15 assists, also from the bench.
The Magic took another defeat on Wednesday night in a high scoring game in the Amway Center against the Washington Wizards by 131-116. Orlando played 12 players, with the best highlight performances coming from the bench. Six of the 12 Orlando players had double figure scoring. The night was led by Terrence Ross who had 24 points. Cole Anthony returned with 13 points and 7 assists. RJ Hampton hit 14 points. Mo Bamba had 19 points along with 8 rebounds a steal and 2 blocks. Wendell Carter Jr led the starters with 15 points.
The Pacers have won 14 of 26 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 10 of 26 games at home. Season records see Orlando at 17-34, whilst Indiana are 23-27. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Pacers have a 5-5 record, whilst Orlando are 3-7. Indiana have one game win streak and Orlando have lost their last three.
Results see Indiana 9th in the Eastern Conference and Orlando sat 14th.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE INDIANA PACERS
Last season Indiana had a record of 45-28 and finished 4th in the Eastern Conference. They were 19th in NBA for offensive rating and 6th in defence. They were swept by Miami in the first round of the playoffs by Miami. That saw a change in coaching staff, bringing in Nate Bjorkgren. He was a major part of the Raptors coaching staff during their title run with Nick Nurse.
The Pacers come into the game as the NBA’s 16th ranked offensive team, scoring on average 113.2 points per game.
Offensively they play at a high pace. They lead the NBA with 15.9 fast break points per game. The Pacers do get assists, 26.8 per game. Scoring wise 52.9% of Indiana’s points per game comes from inside the paint. 32.9% of their points per game comes from beyond the arc, seeing them in the lower reaches of the NBA for scoring with the three ball. They shoot 47.3% from the field and 36.4% with the 3 ball. Indiana do not get many free throws per game, attempting 20.4 per game, making 16. That made 78.4% accounts for 14% of their points.
A defensive rating at 16th sees them conceding 113.6 points per game. They rate only behind Philadelphia in blocks (6.2 per game) and fourth for steals (8.6 per game). They turn the ball over at a high rate of 13.9 times per game. On average they foul often at 20.3 times per game. Orlando by contrast foul only 16.9 times per game, the best record in the NBA. 50.7% of opponent points come in the paint and 32.5% from deep.
THE INDIANA PACERS SQUAD
The Pacers have plenty of injury concerns listed on ESPN that could impact upon their depth. TJ Warren (15.5 PPG) is out for the season. Domantas Sabonis (19.9 PPG) (ankle) and Malcolm Brogdon (16.4 PPG) (hip) are listed as questionable. Myles Turner (12.7 PPG) (ankle) is listed as day-to-day but definitely out for tonight.
The starting line up last used was Justin Holiday (11.3 PPG), Caris LeVert (17.3 PPG), Goga Bitadze (4.9 PPG), Edmond Sumner (6.2 PPG) and Doug McDermott (13.2 PPG).
From the bench came TJ McConnell (7.9 PPG), JaKarr Sampson (3.4 PPG). Aaron Holiday (7.2 PPG), Jeremy Lamb (10.5 PPG), Kelan Martin (1.9 PPG) and Oshae Brissett (1 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD – THE INDIANA PACERS
History is against Orlando on this one. The all time head-to-head record in the 114 regular season games played sees the Magic down 49-65.
In the first meeting this season on Game Day 16 (January 22nd) Orlando lost 118-120 in overtime on the road.
Last season Indiana swept the series 3-0 in competitive games. Indiana have therefore won the last 4 meetings. Orlando had won 3 straight prior to that.
The teams have met 3 times in the playoffs. The record is 1-2 for the Pacers in series and 5-10 in games. The Pacers took both the 1994 (0-3) and 2012 (1-4) first round meetings. Orlando took a famous 4-3 win in the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals.
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT AS THE MAGIC FACE INDIANA IN ORLANDO
As I write the injury report on ESPN is improved.
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury.
Karim Mane (1 PPG) is listed as day-to-day with hamstring issue, but his status again questionable for the game.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
Khem Birch (5.3 PPG) has been waived by the Magic.
THE LINE-UP FOR ORLANDO AS THE MAGIC FACE INDIANA IN ORLANDO
The Magic starting unit against Washington used by Coach Clifford was Michael Carter-Williams (8.8 PPG), Wendell Carter Jr (11.5 PPG), Chuma Okeke (6.8 PPG), James Ennis III (8.2 PPG) and Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (16.2 PPG), RJ Hampton (4.2 PPG), Cole Anthony (11.1 PPG), Mo Bamba (6.1 PPG) Chasson Randle (5.6 PPG), Devin Cannady (2 PPG) and Khem Birch.
Gary Harris (9.7 PPG) is expected to make his Magic debut tonight.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 17-34
HOME RECORD – 10-16
ROAD RECORD – 7-18
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.8)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 23RD OF 30 (113.1)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.5)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 16TH OF 30 (111.7)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 8-10
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 13-4
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 10-3
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-20
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 5-9
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 5-4
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 6-1
RECORDS FOR CONCEDING THIS SEASON
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 6-3
WHEN CONCEDING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 3-6
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 6-12
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-12
LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 46 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 77 – GAME DAY 38 SAN ANTONIO SPURS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 137 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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KEYS TO THE GAME AS THE MAGIC FACE INDIANA IN ORLANDO
As the Magic face Indiana in Orlando as with Washington there will be opportunities to score. They are a team who have conceded in excess of 110 in all of their last four games. The challenge for Orlando is now finding a settled rotation and understanding as players return to fitness and the new additions become further integrated. Opportunities from the free throw line should be available with their high foul rate.
The Magic continue to try and win games. It can not be overlooked that many in the Magic squad are playing for a future with the team. That is shown in the determination on display night in and night out.
Orlando are going to need to be careful with the ball against a team who are adept at stealing and earning themselves extra possessions. McConnell, LeVert, Justin Holiday, Sabonis, Brogdan and Lamb all rate at 1 steal per game or higher on the season.
Indiana are a team that is often bigger than the individual parts. If Brogdan and Sabonis are both absent that would see their top scorers out. However the Holiday brothers and LeVert offer threat, as does McDermott who has had big performances against Orlando previously.
A strong defence is again a must for Orlando and the Magic can not afford to be conceding points at the rate they did against Utah and Washington. Defence of the perimeter has to improve. Washington made 19 from deep, Utah 26, the Pelicans and Clippers 12 each. The Magic have also committed a lot of fouls in the previous two games., resulting in a lot free throws against us.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Orlando has seen results around them beneficial for the lottery position. The Magic remain with the 4th worst record in the NBA. This means Orlando have a 12.5% chance of landing the number 1 draft pick when the lottery comes. Washington having played a game less have a better record at 18-32. The teams facing the lottery are very closely together. Orlando are 5.5 games back of Chicago in 10th. As we said above Orlando are clearly still competing for the post season.
The dates to look for as the season progresses are:
The regular season ends May 16th.
The Play-In tournament is May 18th and 21st.
From May 22nd to July 22nd the NBA Playoffs are scheduled to run.
The date for the Draft Lottery as June 22nd.
The 2021 NBA Draft is set for July 29th.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated the 2021-22 season is hoped to start back at its more normal time of late October.