Game Rewind: Magic 111, Pacers 96

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Pacers' defense can't contain Orlando

By Conrad Brunner
Pacers.com

Orlando is the quintessence of a pick-your-poison opponent. Choose to swarm Dwight Howard inside, and you risk getting bombed into submission from the 3-point line. Play straight-up and Howard will wage his own personal dunk contest.

The Pacers, however, were beaten both inside and out by the Magic Wednesday night before 12,164 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Orlando racked up 16 made 3-pointers, a record for a Pacers opponent, while Howard had 19 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks and four dunks as the Magic controlled most of the game on the way to a 111-96 victory.

Indiana's struggling defense yielded more than 100 points and 50 percent shooting for the fourth time in five games.

IMPACT

The Pacers dropped their sixth game in a row, ninth in 11 games in January and 19th in 26 games since their 9-7 start. They fell to 16-26 overall, 10-11 on the road. Orlando improved to 30-16 overall, 13-10 on the road and 14-4 in the last 18 games.

QUOTEWORTHY

  • "They absolutely had their way from the three point line. Our rotations were very sloppy in the second quarter. We had lapses on the perimeter that we shouldnt have." Pacers coach Jim O'Brien
  • "I thought we defended Danny Granger very, very well. He got to the line 13 times. Some of them were really marginal but he was 6-19 from the floor. I thought we made it tough for him to make shots." Magic coach Stan Van Gundy
  • "We know what it takes to win in this league. We know that we can do it." Pacers guard Darren Collison
  • "Its hard to beat a team that shoots 47 percent on their threes. We are missing assignments, defensively and offensively." Pacers forward Danny Granger

STAT OF THE GAME

In the last five games, opponents have averaged 110.6 points, 49.8 percent shooting overall and 47.2 percent from the 3-point line. Four of the five opponents have shot better than 50 percent, something that happened just six times in the first 37 games.

HIGHLIGHTS

Orlando took control of the game with a 28-9 run bridging the first two periods that included six 3-pointers, three from reserve forward Ryan Anderson, to open a 47-30 lead.

A nine-point burst early in the third pushed the advantage to 80-57, Orlando's biggest of the game. Collison sparked a 13-2 counterpunch by the Pacers, cutting it to 82-70.

Indiana then surged again, scoring nine in a row bridging the third and fourth periods to close to 86-79. It would've been even closer had a 3-pointer from Mike Dunleavy spun around and in, instead of around and out.

But Orlando put it away with a 17-7 run that included three 3-pointers and two three-point plays, with Jason Richardson scoring eight of the point.

BY THE NUMBERS

The Pacers shot 41.2 percent and were 8-of-30 (.267) from the 3-point line. Granger scored 27 but shot 6-of-19 overall, 3-of-11 from the arc. Collison scored 21 on 10-of-18 shooting with four assists. Dunleavy and Paul George scored 10 apiece, with the rookie adding seven rebounds, two assists and two steals off the bench.

Howard was 8-of-16 from the field for his 19 points. Richardson also had 19 with nine rebounds, while Hedo Turkogly had 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and hit 7-of-10 from the field in a performance that crystallized why Orlando re-acquired the versatile forward recently in a trade that also brought Richardson from Phoenix.

Anderson had 14 points, Nelson 12 with four assists and J.J. Redick 10. Seven Orlando players made at least one 3-pointer.

NOTEWORTHY

  • Brandon Rush limped out of the game late in the third quarter with a sprained right ankle and did not return.
  • Orlando released AWOL backup point guard Jason Williams Wednesday afternoon. Williams was not with the team and apparently did not explain his absence.
  • Tonight's win was Coach Stan Van Gundy's 200th with the Magic (200-92) and his 312th in the NBA overall (312-165).
  • Orlando's 16 3-pt field goals tonight are a Pacers' opponent record. The previous record of 15 was held by three different teams, including the Magic. The Lakers made 15 at L.A., 11/28/00; Orlando did so at home, 1/27/09; and New York hit 15 at Conseco Fieldhouse, 1/31/09.
  • Tonight the Magic shot 41-82 FG, becoming the fourth Indiana opponent to hit 50+ percent from the floor in the last five games, and the 10th to do so this season.
  • The Pacers' six-game losing streak is they lost their last eight games of December 2009.
  • With his first three points tonight, Jason Richardson hit the 13,000th point of his NBA career.

UP NEXT

The Pacers host Devin Harris, Brook Lopez and the New Jersey Nets Friday in Conseco Fieldhouse (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). Tickets: Buy Now | Collectible Friday