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

   

By John Denton
Feb. 3, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS – For more than a half on Monday night, the Orlando Magic were not only the equals of the rugged Indiana Pacers, but also carving up their top-ranked defense with stunning efficiency.

Unfortunately for the Magic, the stellar start didn’t last through Monday’s fourth quarter as Indiana flexed its veteran muscle and showed why it has the NBA’s best home record. Still, Orlando played well enough for long stretches against the workmanlike Pacers that it can take plenty of positives out of a 98-79 loss that got away from them late at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

``I thought we were pretty solid defensively in the second and third quarters, but offensively I started missing shots in the third quarter. We held them to a good number, but we just couldn’t score on our part,’’ said Arron Afflalo, who scored just two of his 20 points after halftime. ``Those are the things that you have to take advantage of against a good team. But they relied on their defense, which is what championship caliber teams do.’’

The final margin was somewhat deceptive considering that the Magic fizzled late in a 13-point third quarter and played mostly reserves in a 16-point final period. Orlando shot 50 percent with 22 field goals in the first half, but hit just 28.1 percent with 11 baskets over the final two periods.

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