Denton: Magic vs. Pacers Analysis (2/3/14)

   

Magic rookie Victor Oladipo made his second straight start at point guard and ran the team effectively with nine assists – two short of his career high. However, he struggled shooting the ball once again and made just two of 11 shots. A day earlier in Boston, Oladipo started at point guard in place of the injured Jameer Nelson and had five assists but connected on just three of 16 shots.

``We were playing at a great pace and sharing the ball and that’s why we had the game close,’’ Oladipo said. ``In the fourth quarter we let the game slip away a little, and that’s something we need to learn from. We played them again less than a week from now, so we have to learn from this.’’

Magic center Nikola Vucevic outplayed Indiana standout Roy Hibbert (nine points and eight rebounds) most of the night with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Hibbert grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked seven shots when the two teams opened the season against one another in October, but he was mostly a nonfactor on Monday night.

Tobias Harris chipped in 11 in 30 minutes for the Magic. Danny Granger (16 points) and Paul George (15 points) led the Pacers in scoring, but it was the energy of Lance Stephenson (15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists) that made a difference in the second half.

Playing just 54 miles away from where he became an All-American player at Indiana University, Oladipo was cheered loudly during the pregame intros. Also, several fans in the crowd were sporting No. 5 Magic jerseys in honor of the former Hoosiers star.

Orlando opened the season against Indiana back on Oct. 29 and led the Pacers by four at halftime before eventually falling 97-87. The two teams play again in Orlando on Sunday.

The Magic will be back at the Amway Center on Wednesday night when they host the Detroit Pistons. The Magic whipped Detroit in Orlando in late December and lost to the Pistons in Auburn Hills last week.

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