Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Orlando


By Conrad Brunner, Pacers.com

SCOUTING THE PACERS: With nothing tangible on the line for the regular-season finale, interim coach Frank Vogel may opt to either rest his starters or play them limited minutes in Orlando, the better to preserve their legs for the weekend's playoff opener in Chicago. The Pacers would like to erase the taste of a 110-109 home loss to New York on Sunday, the result of a late jump shot by Carmelo Anthony, but the bigger priority lies on what is ahead, not the past. The offense is rolling right along, averaging 119.7 points on 51 percent shooting in the last three games with the Pacers averaging 25 assists and 32 free throw attempts. The defense could use some fine-tuning, however, yielding 108.0 points on 46 percent shooting in the last four as opponents have averaged 38 free-throw attempts.

SCOUTING THE MAGIC: Orlando (51-30) also is locked into its playoff position, fourth in the Eastern Conference, and will have homecourt advantage for its first-round matchup with Atlanta. The Magic is coming off a solid 95-85 victory in Philadelphia on Monday in which it held a 56-31 edge on the board as Dwight Howard had 19 points and 13 rebounds. Like the Pacers, Orlando began preparing for its playoff matchup with Tuesday's practice and it remains to be seen how coach Stan Van Gundy opts to allocate minutes for his key starters. Orlando won the first two meetings this season and has taken four in a row from the Pacers.

KEY MATCHUP: Assuming they play long enough to break a sweat, Dwight Howard and Roy Hibbert generally put on a good show in the middle. Hibbert views Howard as the cream of the crop at center and always looks forward to measuring himself with this matchup.

QUOTE MARKS: "There's no meaningless game. Every time you're on a basketball court you're either getting better or you're getting worse. We've got to continue to build good habits. Most of our rotation is going to play and play big minutes and they've got to continue to improve. We're a young basketball team. We can't think that we've arrived." -- Vogel

INJURY REPORT: The Pacers are healthy. For the Magic, Gilbert Arenas (sore right knee) and J.J. Redick (lower abdominal strain) are day-to-day, and Daniel Orton (arthroscopic surgery, left knee) is out.

BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 8 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 7. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Austin Croshere with Kevin Lee reporting.

INTERACT: You can chat live with fans around the country in our live game blog which begins at tipoff.