Friday, October 19 at 7:00 PM at Amway Center
Game Preview (Preseason): IND at ORL
by Scott Agness
It's much of the same for the Pacers as they head south to Orlando for preseason game number four. Granger plans to play his first minutes in the final two exhibition games. George Hill is questionable with a hip pointer and a sore thumb. Expect Coach Vogel to stick with a 10-man rotation with balanced minutes.
The first two lineups are essentially set—the five starters from last year plus a new-look second unit. Then, it's guys who can fill pieces, and come off the bench as needed.
Backup point guard D.J. Augustin finally looked comfortable last game in a 102-98 win over Atlanta. He was 5-of-7 and had 13 points in the winning effort. His teammates have praised his ball handling and ability to find the open man. Now, the shots are starting to fall.
Who will be the guy that finally looks comfortable in the system and lets the game come to him? Jeff Pendergraph is due, and so is Lance Stephenson—each have much to prove this upcoming season.
As for the Magic, they are a totally different team without Dwight Howard. Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga and draft picks were acquired as the Magic shipped Howard out west to the Lakers.
Orlando is still trying to mold this year's roster. They currently have 20 players under contract, a handful of whom are fighting through injuries—like former Pacers player Al Harrington, who is expected to be out at least another month.
New Magic coach Jacque Vaughn, who was previously an assistant in San Antonio, has given his starters and key players plenty of rest through their first four preseason games. That's about to change, as the regular season is less than two weeks ago. So far, it's Glen Davis leading the way with team-highs 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game
Despite a new-look Magic roster, Pacers fans will recognize a couple of Indiana guys: The first is Josh McRoberts, who will face his hometown and former team. He's averaged 3.5 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists this preseason. The other guy is former Purdue player E'Twaun Moore is also new to the team; he's made good use of his minutes, averaging 11.3 points and 6 assists per game after four games.
The Magic (0-4) are still seeking a preseason win.
- C – Roy Hibbert
- F – David West
- F – Gerald Green
- G – Paul George
- G – DJ Augustin
- C – Gustavo Avon
- F – Glen Davis
- F – Hedo Turkoglu
- G – J.J. Redick
- G – Jameer Nelson
"Just focus on executing the system, not thinking too much, just playing the game, that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them." —Vogel on what he’s telling the young guys.
"Lots of new guys, preseason sloppiness, and my insistence that they play faster than they’re playing." —Vogel on what to attribute all the turnovers to.
"The running game and changing our coverages in our defense. We have a couple different coverages, not many, but (we're) just focusing in on what coverage we’re in when we change it." —Vogel on what he’s stressed for the game.
- Former Pacers president Larry Bird attended practice Thursday before the team flew to Orlando. "Surprised everybody," Vogel said. "Nobody knew he was coming."
- The team still hasn’t looked at film of their opponents. Here in the preseason, they’re completely focused on what they’re doing.
- This is the first night of the Pacers’ first back-to-back of the season.
Pacers: Danny Granger (out, knee); George Hill (questionable, hip); David West (probable, ankle)
Orlando: Moe Harkless (out, sports hernia); Al Harrington (out, knee); Ish Smith (out, shoulder); Arron Afflalo (doubtful, hamstring strain); Christian Eyenga (doubtful, hamstrings)
The Pacers struggled with the Magic last season, going 1-3 during the regular season. Later, the two teams met in the first round of the playoffs where the Pacers lost the first game to the Dwight Howard-less Magic, but then won four straight to advance to the semi-finals for the first time in seven years.
In that series-closing 105-87 victory on May 8th, Granger paced the blue and gold with 25 points, his third straight game with at least 20 in the series. Darren Collison, who backed up starter George Hill, had an outstanding game, scoring 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting and dished 6 assists. Indiana shot 52% for the game and held Orlando to a 37% clip from outside. Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 27 points.
The game is not televised. It can be heard in central Indiana on the flagship station, 1070 The Fan and statewide on the Pacers Radio Network.
The next home preseason game is this Saturday, October 20th vs the Grizzlies ( Tickets » ).
The Pacers open the regular season Oct. 31st in Toronto, with the first home game being Saturday, November 3rd against the Sacramento Kings. Tickets for Opening Night go on sale to the General Public on October 18th.