Game Rewind: Magic 92, Pacers 72
By Conrad Brunner
Realistically, it just didn't matter.
With key players spending most -- or all -- of the game watching from the bench, the Pacers closed out the regular season with a 92-74 loss in Orlando's Amway Center on Wednesday night.
Danny Granger and Jeff Foster did not play at all, while Darren Collison and Roy Hibbert did not play in the second half as the night belonged to the reserves, many of whom displayed the rust built up from weeks of inactivity.
For the Pacers, this one was much more about resting up for their first-round playoff series with top-seeded Chicago that begins Saturday at 1 p.m. in United Center.
Brandon Rush and Mike Dunleavy scored 16 apiece for the Pacers, while Ryan Anderson had 14 for Orlando.
The Pacers finished the regular season at 37-45 overall, 13-28 on the road and 20-18 under interim coach Frank Vogel. Orlando, the fourth seed in the East, won its fifth in a row from the Pacers to close at 52-30. The Magic faces Atlanta in the first round.
- We certainly didnt want to be blown out the way we were, we wanted to be more competitive than we were. We played to win with the guys we had on the court, we just didnt play well enough." -- Vogel
- "Stan (Van Gundy) should be in the Coach of the Year voting running every single year, because of the style of play that they have, the way he uses (Dwight) Howard. There are a lot of coaches that have talent that dont win. Every time you prepare against them, they have counters for everything."
- "I think they (Magic) can go pretty far because Dwight Howard is such a presence especially on the inside. Personally, I would vote for him over Derrick Rose as the MVP simply because Dwight really anchors the Magic on everything that they do. He does so much for that team. I think with him they can definitely go back to the Finals." -- Granger
STAT OF THE GAME
Indiana centers Roy Hibbert and Solomon Jones combined to produce one point on 0-of-10 shooting and 10 personal fouls against Orlando's Dwight Howard, who had 13 points and 13 boards.
Orlando took control right away with a 15-0 run in the first quarter while the Pacers missed nine shots in a row. Indiana showed life early in the second quarter with a 10-0 run capped by consecutive 3-pointers from Rush, cutting the deficit to 33-26, but the Pacers would make just one bucket the rest of the half.
The Magic closed the second quarter with a 20-3 run to carry a 53-29 lead into the break as the Pacers shot 25 percent from the field and had nearly as many turnovers (10) as field goals (11).
Mike Dunleavy scored the final 13 in a 22-8 run in the third quarter that brought the Pacers to a 62-49 deficit but that was the last of their challenges as Orlando pulled away.
BY THE NUMBERS
Rush had an unusual night, making 5-of-9 from beyond the arc but missing all seven of his two-point attempts to wind up 5-of-16 from the field for his 16 points. Dunleavy hit 5-of-10 overall, 2-of-3 from the 3-point line, for his 16 points. No other Indiana player scored in double figures. A.J. Price had seven points and seven assists and Tyler Hansbrough produced nine points and six rebounds. The Pacers shot 31 percent from the field -- just 29 percent on two-point attempts -- and committed 18 turnovers.
Anderson had seven rebounds to accompany his 14 points. Howard had 13 points and 13 boards, while Hedo Turkoglu scored 13 and Brandon Bass 12 for the Magic. Orlando shot just 44 percent overall, 31 percent from the 3-point line and committed 28 turnovers -- and still won by 18.
- In addition to Granger getting the night off, Vogel also rested veteran backup center Jeff Foster. Dahntay Jones started for Granger, while Solomon Jones picked up Foster's minutes off the bench by making his first appearance in 18 games.
- Orlando was without key reserves Gilbert Arenas (sore leg) and J.J. Redick, who missed his 17th consecutive game with an abdominal strain.
- Indiana's 29 first-half points was a season low.
- Solomon Jones (against Jameer Nelson in the first quarter) and James Posey (against Earl Clark in the fourth) both picked up Type 1 Flagrant Fouls. Jones and Posey collected four of the Pacers' six flagrant fouls on the season.
- Price, Dunleavy and Solomon Jones started the second half in place of Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones and Hibbert.
The Pacers open their best-of-seven first-round NBA Playoff series against the Bulls on Saturday in Chicago (1 p.m., ESPN, WIBC 93 FM).