In the Amway Center tonight the Magic and Pacers go again, facing each other for the final time this season. Orlando are looking for the sweep, being currently up by 2-0 after the teams met on Monday night.
Much of the preview tonight is an “as you were”, there is little differ with playing each other twice in three nights. The tip time from Orlando is again shown on the Orlando Magic website as being midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando). To watch the game live or on demand in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass 2021/22 subscription.
Season Record And Last Time Out
Last time on Monday evening Markelle Fultz returned as Orlando outpaced Indiana in the Amway Center to take a 103-119 victory. The Magic defence was king. Active hands saw deflections, steals and the Pacers make turnovers. For Orlando it was also done without fouling. Orlando trailed early in what was a tight and hard fought first half. It was the third quarter where Orlando took control and secured the win. By the close 8 Magic players had scored in double figures. Ball movement and an unselfish attitude was a mark of the Magic offence, dishing out 29 assists. Orlando were also relentless on the offensive glass, securing 10 offensive rebounds and 18 second-chance points.
The Orlando Magic
Markelle Fultz had a solid 10 points, 2 rebounds and 6 assists in his 16 minutes from the bench. Wendell Carter Jr was dominant for 27th double-double of the season (21 points and 12 rebounds). Mo Bamba played with energy and determination. He also had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Jalen Suggs was a third Magic player to get a double-double. A full throttle, energy performance saw him score 14 points and matched a career high with 10 assists. Franz Wagner worked tirelessly to get 15 points for his 52nd double figure scoring game in 62 played. RJ Hampton (12 points), Cole Anthony (11 points) and Gary Harris (11 points) rounded out those scoring double figures. Chuma Okeke had 6 points but his presence defensively was huge for the team.
Orlando has a record of 15 wins and 47 losses, which still sees us last in the Eastern Conference and with the worst record in the NBA. Over the last 10 games played the Magic have won 4, including the last two played. The home record stands at 7 wins of 28 games played. On the road it is 8 wins in 34 played for the Magic. Points per game sees the Magic are scoring 103.8 whilst conceding 111.8. The efficiency rating for Orlando remains 28th on offence and 22nd defensively.
The Indiana Pacers
For Indiana the offence ran through Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield, leading the team with 23 and 18 points respectively. Support from the bench largely came from Goga Bitadze and Duane Washington Jr, each tallying 11 points.
Indiana now possess a record of 21 wins and 42 losses, seeing the Pacers surprisingly at 13th in the Eastern Conference. Of the last 10 games played Indiana have won 2. The road record stands at 6 wins of 30 games played. In points per game the Pacers score 109.7 whilst conceding 112.3, rating 17th on offence and 26th defensively.
Head-To-Head: The Indiana Pacers
he all time head-to-head record in the 118 regular season games played sees the Magic down 51-67.
These two clubs have met twice this season. The first on February 2nd was in Indiana. Orlando made a fourth-quarter come back to defeat the Pacers by 119-118. Wendell Carter Jr (19 points and 18 rebounds) and Gary Harris (making 6 from deep to finish with 22 points) led the fight. the second game we have already covered above as Orlando beat Indiana in the Amway Center to take that 103-119 victory on Monday night.
Last season all three games were hard fought affairs, that saw Orlando swept 3-0 by the Pacers. The same was true of the previous season as Indiana swept the Magic 3-0 in competitive games. Orlando had won 3 straight in 2019.
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.
Our Opponents – The Indiana Pacers
Head coach Rick Carlisle will again have absences to key players. TJ McConnell, Ricky Rubio, Myles Turner, TJ Warren are all out long term. Chris Duarte and Lance Stephenson are both shown as day-to-day and questionable. Malcolm Brogdon is expected to return to this game after management of his ankle injury on Monday.
Last Starting Unit – Tyrese Halliburton (PG), Buddy Hield (SG), Oshea Brissett (SF), Jalen Smith (PF) Isaiah Jackson (C).
Bench Unit: Chris Duarte, Goga Bitadze, Duane Washington Jr, Terry Taylor, Keifer Sykes
The Orlando Magic Lineup And Injury Report
Coach Jamahl Mosely will be led by his medical staff before he makes a decision on his starters as Cole Anthony is listed as day-to-day. If he does not make it Fultz or Harris could start in his place.
Magic Starting Lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), Jalen Suggs (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
Magic Bench Unit – Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, Chuma Okeke, Terrence Ross, Admiral Schofield, Ignas Brazdeikis, Robin Lopez (DNP)
Injury Report – Moe Wagner (left rib contusion), Jonathan Isaac (rehabilitation of surgically repaired left knee), Bol Bol (out for the season after surgery to a foot injury) are all again absent. Cole Anthony is day-to-day but probable with soreness to his hip.
Final Thoughts As The Magic And Pacers Go Again
Again Magic fans will focus on Markelle Fultz and can he make an even bigger impact to the team tonight? He looked fit, strong, full of energy and made plays for those around him.
The Pacers as we saw have a very effective point guard in Tyrese Halliburton. Tonight his threat will be greater as Malcolm Brogdan returns. Buddy Hield, Brogdan and Haliburton provide a lot of threat that will require the Magic defence to be again focused.
Offensively the Pacers are very effective attacking from inside the two-point line. What has improved is their ability to shoot from distance. The Pacers did not rebound well in the last meeting. They can be guilty of wasting possessions through a high number of turnovers as we saw. The Pacers are not a team who make a lot of steals, but block shots with the best in the NBA. Again Orlando will have the opportunity to find scoring. The Magic are strong at attacking the paint, which remains a weakness for the Pacers defence.
Orlando will again see this game as winnable, regardless of what it does to the lottery pisition. They will certainly not roll over without a fight.
As I wrote in the last game preview the remainder of the season is a building block to the future. The remaining games will see a focus on the pairing of Wendell Carter Jr and Mo Bamba to see if they have a future together. Chuma Okeke and RJ Hampton will want to show further what they can do.
Let’s Go Magic!