By John Denton
March 8, 2013
ORLANDO – Emotionally flat following Wednesday’s heart-breaking loss in Miami and hardly sharp in any phase of the game, the Orlando Magic got flattened on Friday against one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams.
Orlando’s inability to protect the ball or get many defensive stops paved the way to a disappointing 115-86 loss to the Indiana Pacers before 16,515 fans at the Amway Center.
The lopsided loss was filled with frustration for the Magic (17-46), especially considering how well the team played in a come-from-behind win against New Orleans on Monday and a near-miss loss in Miami on Wednesday. But on Friday, the Magic ran into an angry Indiana team that lost to the Magic in January and dropped a winnable home game to Boston on Wednesday.
``I don’t think there (was a letdown). We got over that Miami game and in this league you can’t think about another game. Whether you win or lose you have to forget about it,’’ Magic center Nikola Vucevic said of the team possibly suffered a hangover from Wednesday’s loss. ``We just didn’t come out the right way. They jumped on us, they played more aggressive on both ends of the court and we didn’t respond.’’
The Magic uncharacteristically had more turnovers (21) than assists (16) against an Indiana defense that ranks first in the NBA in field goal percentage allowed and second in points allowed. Indiana (39-23) turned Orlando’s errors into a staggering 30 points. Adding to the misery of Friday’s game, the Magic made just 39 percent of their shots. Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said that Friday’s game was a perfect lesson for a young team that there can’t be a carryover from one night to the next.
``I just think that’s why it’s so important that you treat each game individually and you have to have the right mind frame going into the game,’’ Vaughn said.
Follow John Denton on Twitter here