Game Day 60 sees Indiana face the Magic in Orlando again. The Pacers are chasing a playoff spot as the Magic aim to break a 4 game losing run.
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THE MATCHUP AS INDIANA FACE THE MAGIC
For the Pacers this is the second night of a back-to-back. Indiana played last night in a hard fought home game, beating the Detroit Pistons by 109-115. Five Indiana players made double figure scoring for a team shorthanded through injury. Malcolm Brogdan led the Pacers in scoring with 26 points. Oshae Brissett made a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Caris LeVert made 25 points and Edmund Sumner 22
The Magic took another defeat on Thursday nighti n the Amway Center against the New Orleans Pelicans by 135-100. Orlando were destroyed in the paint. A early second quarter lead was blown apart by a 21-5 run by the Pelicans. Six Orlando players had double figure scoring. Mo Bamba had 17 points along with 12 rebounds and 2 blocks as he led the team and made a start. The stats conceal what was not one of Mo’s best games. Cole Anthony was solid again with his 7th double figure scoring game in eight played since his return from a rib injury. RJ Hampton hit 10 points but Devin Cannady led the bench with 17 points.
The Pacers have won 17 of 31 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 10 of 31 games at home. Season records see Orlando at 18-41, whilst Indiana are 28-31. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Pacers have a 6-4 record, whilst Orlando are 1-9. Indiana have a two game win streak and Orlando have lost their last four.
Results see Indiana 9th in the Eastern Conference and Orlando sat 14th.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE INDIANA PACERS
Head Coach Nate Bjorkgren was a major part of the Raptors coaching staff during their title run with Nick Nurse. He is having a decent first season as the Pacers head coach.
The Pacers come into the game as the NBA’s 16th ranked offensive team, scoring on average 113.7 points per game.
Offensively they play at a high pace. They are second in the NBA with 16.2 fast break points per game as they are very active on defence as we will cover. The Pacers always get assists, 26.7 per game as they move the ball. Scoring wise 53.2% of Indiana’s points per game come from inside the paint. 32.4% of their points per game is from beyond the arc, seeing them in the lower reaches of the NBA for scoring with the three ball. They shoot 46.8% from the field and 35.7% with the 3 ball. Indiana do not get many free throws per game, attempting 20.8 per game, making 16.4. That ratio of made free throws sees an accuracy rate 78.6% accounts for 14.4% of their points. Most of these offensive statistics (except free throws) have been worse over the last few games through absences of of key players.
A defensive rating at 14th sees them conceding 114.3 points per game. They rate as the League’s best in blocks (6.3 per game) and fourth for steals (8.7 per game). They turn the ball over at rate of 13.5 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. 52.8% of opponent points come in the paint (only Sacramento concede a higher percentage in the paint) and 30.5% from deep (only Utah concede less on the three ball).
THE INDIANA PACERS SQUAD
As I write 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) (back), Myles Turner (12.6 PPG) (toe) and Jeremy Lamb (10.1 PPG) (knee) are listed as out. Goga Bitadze (4.9 PPG) is listed as day-to-day but out.
The starting line up last used was Oshae Brissett (7.9 PPG), Malcolm Brogdon (21.6 PPG), Caris LeVert (18.7 PPG), Edmond Sumner (7 PPG) and JaKarr Sampson (3.3 PPG).
From the bench came TJ McConnell (8.2 PPG), Aaron Holiday (7.1 PPG), Kelan Martin (2 PPG), Justin Holiday (10.3 PPG) and Doug McDermott (13 PPG)
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD – THE INDIANA PACERS
History is against Orlando on this one. The all time head-to-head record in the 115 regular season games played sees the Magic down 49-66.
In the first meeting this season on Game Day 16 (January 22nd) Orlando lost 118-120 in overtime on the road. We met again on Game Day 52 (April 9th) and lost 111-106 in the Amway. Aaron Holiday, Sabonis and McDermott all had freedom to find scoring in that game.
Last season Indiana swept the series 3-0 in competitive games. Indiana have therefore won the last 5 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 INDIANA FACE THE MAGIC
As I write the injury report on ESPN reads:
Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG) is listed as out but questionable with back spasms.
James Ennis III (8.6 PPG) is listed as out but questionable with a calf injury
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury.
Wendell Carter Jr (11.9 PPG) is listed as day-to-day and questionable with an ankle issue.
Michael Carter-Williams (8.8 PPG) is out and will miss multiple games with an ankle injury.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
Finally Coach Clifford will miss multiple games after having tested positive for COVID-19.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP AS INDIANA FACE THE MAGIC
The Magic starting unit against New Orleans used by Coach Clifford was the 29th of the season. That unit was Cole Anthony (11.6 PPG), Chuma Okeke (7.2 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG), Gary Harris (10.2 PPG) and Mo Bamba (6.9 PPG).
From the bench came RJ Hampton (4.9 PPG), Chasson Randle (5.6 PPG), Donte Hall (4.3 PPG), Robert Franks (4.4 PPG) and Devin Cannady (4.9 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 18-41
HOME RECORD – 10-21
ROAD RECORD – 8-20
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 29TH OF 30 (105.5)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 26TH OF 30 (113.9)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.2)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 17TH OF 30 (112.4)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 9-10
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 14-6
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 11-3
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-23
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 5-12
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 6-5
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 – 4-6
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 6-16
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-15
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
KEYS TO THE GAME AS INDIANA FACE THE MAGIC
As Indiana face the Magic in Orlando there will be opportunities to score. Indiana are a team who have conceded 109 points in every game this month, except one. Unfortunately that was the game against our very own Magic, where we made 106 points. Opportunities from the free throw line should be available with their high foul rate. Chuma Okeke must step up his scoring, having apparently lost confidence in his own ability of late.
The challenge for Orlando remains finding a settled rotation and defensive understanding. Despite the losing run Orlando are on Coach Clifford and his staff continue to try to win games. With Coach Clifford being absent this task will fall to his assistants to step up. It can not be overlooked that many in the Magic squad are still playing for a future with the team.
Orlando are going to need to be careful with the ball against a team who are adept at stealing and earning themselves extra possessions. Multiple players in the Pacer’s roster rate at 1 steal per game or higher on the season.
Indiana are a team that is often bigger than the individual parts. Even with injury to key parts they are finding a way to win. The Holiday brothers, Brogdan, Sumner and LeVert offer threat, as does McDermott who has had big performances against Orlando previously.
A strong defence is a must for Orlando and the Magic can not afford to be conceding points at the rate they have over recent weeks. Defence of the perimeter has to improve. 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 is in a tight fight for the best 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. The post season is all but a mathematical possibility now as Orlando are 7 games back of Washington in 10th.
The dates to look for as the season moves on 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.
August 2nd sees teams able to negotiate with free agents and from the 6th signing.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated the 2021-22 season is hoped to start back at its more normal time of late October.
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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