A lackluster offense held back the Orlando Magic last season. An inability to score has been hurting them in Indiana for 10 years.
Now owners of one of the league's top offenses, the Magic look to end their scoring woes in Indiana when they continue their season series with the Pacers on Saturday night.
Orlando made the playoffs last season despite going 40-42, a mediocre record largely due to a lethargic offense. After averaging 94.8 points per game in 2006-07, the Magic (30-18) have posted an Eastern Conference-best 103.4 in Stan Van Gundy's first season as coach.
Orlando is averaging 107.5 points in its last two games, including a 108-106 win over Philadelphia on Friday night.
On Dec. 7, however, the Magic lost 115-109 at home to the Pacers (19-28), who are the East's second-best scoring team at 103.2 points per game. Orlando can even its season series with Indiana, but comes in having lost four straight at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Most of the Magic's problems in Indiana are due to poor play on offense, scoring no more than 86 points in their last six games there. They're averaging 88.3 in their last 19 games in Indiana, losing 14.
Orlando, however, has been outstanding on the road this season, winning its NBA-best 18th away from home on Friday as Hedo Turkoglu's two free throws with 2.4 seconds left secured the win against the 76ers.
The veteran swingman, who finished with 23 points, has had a career season to help lead the Magic's resurgence on offense. Turkoglu is averaging 19.4 points per game, and many felt he should have should have been on this year's All-Star team.
"It's nice to be mentioned as an All-Star and I thank the coaches around the league for that," said Turkoglu, who has never appeared in an All-Star game in seven previous NBA seasons with San Antonio, Sacramento and Orlando. "If I keep playing well and keep staying aggressive, maybe I'll be an All-Star next year. I'm going to keep working.
"We're winning and that makes me happy."
Turkoglu, though, was held to 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting in December's matchup with the Pacers.
Indiana played just eight players in that game, and seven of them reached double figures in scoring. Danny Granger topped the Pacers with 27 points. He finished with 22 on Friday night, but the Pacers lost 106-103 to Houston.
It was Indiana's fifth straight loss and 15th in 19 games.
"We have a new day (Saturday)," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We'll try to win a basketball game. You can't worry about the past. Persistence is the key. We will be persistent."
Playing without Jermaine O'Neal hasn't helped. O'Neal has missed seven straight games with a bone bruise in his left knee, and there is no timetable for his return.
This will be the third game of a four-game stretch at home for the Pacers. They have lost three straight and five of seven at Conseco Fieldhouse.
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