Tuesday, October 29th 2013 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers vs Magic
Pacers.com Staff | Updated: October 28, 2013
After a preseason slate that saw the Pacers play games in five states and three countries, Indiana kicks off the 2013-14 NBA regular season by hosting the Orlando Magic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Pacers fans looking forward to the return of Danny Granger will have to wait just a bit longer. Granger, who missed all but all but five games last season with a knee injury, will miss approximately three weeks with a strained left calf. Though the injury is not believed to be serious, the Pacers are being extra cautious with the one-time All-Star.
With Granger out, the Pacers will open the year with the same starting lineup as last year: George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West, and Roy Hibbert. That five-man tandem led the Pacers to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last year, playing more minutes together than any other five-man unit in the East.
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The Pacers had a busy summer overhauling their bench, and several new faces are expected to see time in the rotation on Opening Night. Luis Scola, a gifted post scorer, will see plenty of minutes at power forward and could also slide over to center. C.J. Watson will backup George Hill at point guard. In the absence of Granger, first round draft-pick Solomon Hill and second-year guard Orlando Johnson are next on the depth chart on the wings. Sharpshooter Chris Copeland could see time at power forward if Vogel opts to play "small ball." Returning player Ian Mahinmi provides a traditional backup for Hibbert at center.
Orlando's presence adds more local flavor to the opener. Indiana University graduate Victor Oladipo, the second overall pick in June's NBA Draft, will make his regular season debut in the Hoosier State. Oladipo played three years at Indiana and was a consensus first team All-American as a junior, in his final season in Bloomington.
Orlando is not expected to contend for a playoff spot this season, but they do have some talented young pieces. 23-year-old center Nikola Vucevic is a physical 7-footer who averaged a double-double (13.1 points, 11.9 rebounds) in 77 games last season. 21-year-old small forward Tobias Harris struggled to find the court in a year and a half in Milwaukee, but averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in 27 games after being traded to the Magic last spring. Harris is out for the season opener with a sprained ankle.
Pacers: Danny Granger (out, strained left calf)
Magic: Glen Davis (out, left foot surgery), Tobias Harris (out, sprained left ankle)
- Indiana won last year's regular season series with the Magic, 2-1. The two teams split two games in Orlando, while the Pacers won the lone meeting at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
- In addition to Oladipo, the Magic also feature another player with local ties in guard E'Twaun Moore, who starred at Purdue from 2007-11.
- Veteran forward Solomon Jones made Orlando's opening night roster. Jones played with the Pacers from 2009-11.
- Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn was teammates with Pacers point guard George Hill in San Antonio during the 2008-09 season. Vaughn later served as an assistant for the Spurs from 2010-12, while Hill played in San Antonio through the 2011 season.
“My anticipation is only on trying to win [Tuesday’s] game. Obviously we set out the goal to try to win the East, in terms of the regular season home-court advantage, try to get that 1-seed. Obviously, great great competition out there with some of the great teams in the Eastern Conference but it starts tomorrow night.” – Frank Vogel
“It’s every bit as important as Game 82. There’s going to be a point late in the season where if you win a game, you’re going to get this seed and if you lose, you’re going to slip a seed. Well, tomorrow night’s game is every bit as important as that game.” – Vogel on the importance of the first game
“The last two days, we’ve been having some of the best practices I’ve seen since I’ve been a Pacer. I’m very happy where we are right now and everyone is communicating, playing hard and working together so it’s good to see.” – George Hill
“I anticipate us improving off last year. Our starting five has gotten a whole lot better, in terms of experience and an understanding for one another. We might have one of the strongest benches in the league and it’s just going to [set up] for an amazing season for us.” – Paul George
March 19: David West missed his second consecutive game with a lower back injury, but Tyler Hansbrough stepped up in his place, finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds (nine on the offensive glass) to lead the Pacers to a 95-73 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Paul George led all scorers with 19 points, while Gerald Green had 15 points and eight boards off the bench. Maurice Harkless and Arron Afflalo had 10 points each for the Magic, while Vucevic added nine points and 11 rebounds. On the night, Indiana outrebounded Orlando 63-42.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: Fox Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/studio host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/studio host)