For long parts it was not an easy watch, however the Magic took the W over the Pacers with a third quarter comeback from 17 points down. It took two late back-to-back three pointers to tie the game from Gary Harris, with a Franz Wagner ”and 1” to take the lead. Cole Anthony free throws made it a 4 point lead and sealed the win as the Orlando Magic defeated the Indiana Pacers 119-118.
There was some tactical chess being played by both coaches. Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosely had been assistant to the Pacers Head Coach Rick Carlisle for 7 years in Dallas. This was the first meeting of the pair in their respective new jobs. Without a centre Indiana went small and shot the lights out early from the three. Coach Mosely countered by playing big getting production from Wendell Carter Jr and Robin Lopez.
Tankers won’t be happy but fans should expect this grit and fight from the team. It was another game where Orlando had shown resilience and given themselves a chance of winning. Unlike earlier in the season the team are now steadily taking wins where losses would have been previously. It may not be perfect and this win was against a Pacers team decimated by injury but it is progress for the young Magic team.
Magic Top Performers
Wendell Carter Jr led Orlando again in scoring with a double-double of 19 points and 18 rebounds, which was a career high.
Franz Wagner kept the Magic scoreboard ticking over with his ability to create his own shot with impressive footwork and balance. No apology as here comes the statistic again…a 19 point scoring performance was the 45th game he has scored double figures in 53 played, having hit 20-points or more on 13 occasions.
Gary Harris brought his experience down the stretch, nailing two huge baskets to tie the game. In front of his boyhood team’s fans he produced 22 points, 5 assists and 2 steals coming again from the bench.
Cole Anthony again had struggles shooting from the field but still finished with 15 points. It was another less efficient shooting night, making a shade over 13% from the field. However he held his nerve to make the 4 game winning free throws in the final seconds. He also added 8 assists.
Jalen Suggs poured in 12 points and 8 assists.
Robin Lopez only played for 5 minutes to give Wendell a rest. In that time Captain Hook hit 3 of 4 shots as he bullied the Indiana defence in the paint.
Magic Starting Lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), Jalen Suggs (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
Magic Bench Unit – Gary Harris, Terrence Ross, Chuma Okeke, Moe Wagner, Admiral Schofield, Robin Lopez, Ignas Brazdeikis (DNP)
Up Next After The Magic Took The W Over The Pacers
After the Magic took the W over the Pacers Orlando has a record of 12 wins and 41 losses. The Magic are still sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and hold the worst record in the NBA. However in the last 10 games played the Magic have won 5. The home record stands at 5 wins of 23 games played, whilst on the road it is 7 wins in 30 played. In points per game the Magic are scoring 103.1 whilst conceding 110.8. The efficiency rating for the Magic remains 28th on offence and 21st defensively.
Orlando now return home to take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday 5th February at 10pm (5pm Eastern).
The Memphis Grizzlies
Led by the young duo of All-Star Ja Morant and second year Desmond Bane the Grizzlies are the surprise team in the West. Through the season Coach Taylor Jenkins has been putting together a nice set of wins built on fast paced attacking basketball. They do not shoot the three a lot but attack the paint, ranking number one in field goals attempted. They are also top rated for offensive rebounds, steals and blocks made. And don’t expect them to turn the ball over a lot either!
Memphis have a record of 35 wins and 18 losses, which puts Memphis 3rd in the Western Conference. Of the last 10 games played they have won 6. Their home record stands at 19 wins of 28 games played, which is almost identical to the road record of 17 wins in 26 games. In points per game the Grizzlies score 112.2 whilst conceding 108.4, rating 9th on offence and 7th defensively.
Last Time Out – Wednesday 2nd February
Playing on the road in New York the Grizzles defeated the Knicks 120-108. Jaren Jackson Jr led the team in scoring with a 26 points and 10 rebound double-double. Ja Morant had 23 points and 9 assists. Ziaire Williams had 21 points, De’Anthony Melton scored 14 and Desmond Bane 13.
Starting Unit – Ja Morant (PG), Desmond Bane (SG), Jaren Jackson Jr (SF), Ziaire Williams (PF), Steven Adams (C)
Bench Unit – Brandon Clarke, De’Anthony Melton, Kyle Anderson, Tyus Jones, John Konchar, Jarrett Culver (DNP), Xavier Tilman (DNP), Killian Tillie (DNP) and Santie Aldama (DNP).
Dillon Brooks is their only injury absence.
Josh Cohen’s game reviews are available on the Orlando Magic website.