Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 at 7:00 PM EDT at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: IND vs ORL
Scott Agness | March 16, 2013
15 games to go. It’s crunch time, and this is when you want to be playing your best basketball. Home for three of their next four games, the Pacers need to get back to their winning ways, clinch a playoff spot, and start building some positive momentum for the postseason.
First up in their final month of games, the Orlando Magic, a team the Pacers played six games ago in Florida. The Magic have dropped their last three games and five of six. This will be their third stop of a four-game road trip up North.
Related: What They're Saying: March 19 »
The Magic (18-49) have been out of contention for quite a while. Moving Dwight Howard in the offseason signaled a transition within the franchise. They were going to start anew, after a strong recent history. With the second-worst record in the NBA, Orlando’ streak of six-straight playoff appearances, the longest current streak in the Eastern Conference, will come to an end.
Recently, they’ve been without two key players. Forward Glen Davis has missed the last 22 games with a fractured left foot and sharpshooter Hedo Turkoglu is still serving a 20-game suspension for using a substance that’s banned by the NBA.
With a 17 points per game average, Arron Afflalo leads the Magic in scoring. Tobias Harris, who was acquired in the trade that sent J.J. Redick to Milwaukee, has averaged almost 16 points and seven rebounds since joining the team. Second-year center Nikola Vucevic is another guy that’s fitting in well and getting comfortable in the starting lineup. He’s averaging a double-double – 12.4 points, 11.5 rebounds.
Though the Magic have a lot of losses to their name, 23 of those games have been decided by six points or less and they’ve only been successful in five of those games. The Magic average a league-low 16 free throw attempts per game, and they’re last in the league in steals.
For the Pacers, it’s key for them to raise their energy level and intensity, particularly on defense. Danny Granger remains out and David West’s status is in question. He sat out Monday's game in Cleveland with a lower back sprain.
Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee), David West (out, lower back sprain)
Magic: Andrew Nicholson (day-to-day, illness), Glen Davis (out, fractured left foot), Hedo Turkoglu (out, 20-game NBA suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program)
- Orlando has lost their last three road games and are just 8-24 this season away from Orlando.
- The Magic have used utilized 20 different starting lineups this season, tied for most in the NBA.
- Magic forward Al Harrington was drafted by the Pacers in 1998 and he played with the team from 1998-2004 and 36 games in 2006.
- Second-year guard E’Twaun Moore won at state title at East Chicago Central and played at Purdue University from 2007-2011.
The Pacers won the last meeting, just 11 days ago in Orlando, 115-86. It was exactly the type of bounce-back performance you would hope for. They had 33 assists, 30 points off turnovers, +24 in the paint, and the Pacers’ bench contributed 50 points. With a 25-point lead at the end of the third, four of the five starters were able to sit for the entire fourth quarter.
Six Pacers finished in double-figures: Paul George scored 25, Tyler Hansbrough had 18, and D.J. Augustin ended the night with 14 points and eight assists. For the Magic, Arron Afflalo scored 19 points, Nikola Vucevic and Beno Udrih each chipped in 12.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)/>