Monday, February 3, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 98, Magic 79
Wheat Hotchkiss | February 3, 2014
Before Tuesday’s game against Orlando, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said that his team – particularly the bench players – needed to do a better job on the offensive end passing and moving without the ball.
Indiana’s bench scored a season-high 49 points as the Pacers (37-10) rolled past the Magic (13-37), 98-79.
Danny Granger led the way for the second unit. The one-time All-Star hit 3-of-5 attempts from 3-point range and scored a season-high 16 points. It was the most points for Granger since May 20, 2012, when he scored 20 points against the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"We made a point of trying to get Danny going tonight," Pacers power forward David West said. "I thought he did a good job of coming out getting shots, getting his looks. He’s getting his legs back under him, his timing’s coming, and we know that our bench is dangerous."
The rest of the reserves were just as sharp. C.J. Watson scored nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, while Luis Scola contributed 10 points and Ian Mahinmi had seven points and five rebounds. The four players combined for 17 rebounds and 10 assists.
Lance Stephenson, who plays heavy minutes as effectively the fifth member of the Pacers’ second unit, contributed 15 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists in 37 minutes. Stephenson was the only Pacers starter who played over 27 minutes. Paul George, David West, and George Hill sat out the entire fourth quarter after Indiana used an early 13-3 run to push its lead over 20 points.
"I challenged our second unit guys (before the fourth quarter) to not make me put the starters back in and bust the game open," Vogel said in his postgame press conference. "They were able to do that."
Another point of emphasis for the Pacers heading into Monday’s contest was cutting down turnovers, after coughing up the ball a season-high 24 times in Saturday’s narrow win over Brooklyn. Indiana righted the ship in that area as well, with just nine giveaways on the night.
"Coach (Vogel) came in and we watched film (on Friday) from the beginning of the (Brooklyn) game to the end of the game – all offense," Granger said. "He said we’ve just got to move the ball more…Offensively, sometimes we try to do it ourselves. We can get a lot easier shots by moving the ball. It was obvious tonight that we were trying to move it."
The Pacers executed well offensively in the first quarter, making 11-of-21 shots and getting to the free throw line seven times (converting six). Paul George scored 10 points and Roy Hibbert added eight in the period, as Indiana jumped out to a 29-22 lead. It would have been larger if not for the hot shooting of Arron Afflalo, who hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the quarter.
The bench picked up where the starters left off in the second quarter, scoring 23 points by themselves in the period, led by eight each from Luis Scola and Danny Granger.
The Pacers stretched their lead to as many as 16 points, but Orlando closed the gap with a 9-2 run at the end of the half, capped off by another 3-pointer from Affalo just before the buzzer. Despite 18 points from Afflalo, the Pacers headed into the locker room with a 59-50 lead.
The Pacers have typically played some of their best basketball right after halftime, but that wasn’t the case Monday night. Indiana missed its first nine shots in the third quarter as Orlando opened the half on an 8-1 run to cut the Pacers’ lead to just two.
But after Lance Stephenson converted a tough basket-plus-the-foul at 5:39, the Pacers outscored Orlando 15-3 the rest of the quarter to regain control. The blue and gold’s hot play carried over to the fourth quarter, as they opened the frame with a 13-3 run to effectively put the game away. Orlando made just 11-of-39 shots in the second half as the Pacers rolled to another win.
On paper, Tuesday’s game should be a bit of a bigger challenge for the Pacers, who will head to Atlanta to take on the Hawks. The Pacers have lost 12 straight regular season games at Philips Arena.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George scored 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting. The two-time All-Star has now scored in double figures in 11 straight games.
With the win, the Pacers improved to 10-2 when Granger scores 10 or more points. Indiana is also 10-2 when Scola scores in double digits.
George Hill played just 19 minutes, tying a season-low previously set Nov. 8 in Toronto, and scored a season-low two points on 1-for-8 shooting (0-for-6 from 3-point range). Vogel said after the game that Hill was battling a toe injury and he wanted to ride back up point guard C.J. Watson a little longer tonight, especially with the Pacers playing again tomorrow night in Atlanta.
The Pacers outrebounded the Magic 52-38. Indiana had 21 assists on the night, improving to 24-2 on the season when topping the 20-assist mark.
Arron Afflalo scored 20 points to lead all scorers, but had just two points on 1-of-7 shooting in the second half. Nikola Vucevic recorded his 19th double-double of the season, finishing with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Victor Oladipo, the second overall draft pick out of Indiana University, scored six points and tied his career-high with 11 assists. Tobias Harris added 11 points and six assists for Orlando.
"All our guys felt bad about getting out of control last game and they made it a point of emphasis tonight." - Frank Vogel on the Pacers only having nine turnovers
"We came out and played a lot better. The ball was moving crisper, plays were moving with a better pace. And we got some open looks, a couple fastbreak looks, and just played better defense." -C.J. Watson on the bench's play at the start of the fourth quarter
"I’ve always played better off of movement and screens. Frank put in some plays – not just for me, but just to get us moving more – and I always thrive in that type of offense. The rest of our team thrives as well." -Danny Granger
"We look at ourselves and see where we are and we like it. We like working hard and getting the wins that we have. We are proud of our defense and we have to make sure we stay focused." -Ian Mahinmi
"They made shots and then defensively, I think, overall as a unit they really showed why they have the number one defense in the league. (They have) ability to get their hands on balls and just be in the passing lane and at the same time contest shots and contest you at the rim." -Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn
"In the fourth quarter we kind of let it slip away a little. It’s just something we need to learn from. We play them again in less than a week, so we have to be prepared for that." -Magic guard Victor Oladipo
Stat of the Game
Indiana's bench outscored Orlando's reserves 49-19 on Monday night. In their previous five games, the Pacers' bench had averaged 18.6 points per game.
- David West rolled his right ankle with 7:35 remaining in the third quarter. The Pacers called a timeout to examine the injury, but West stayed in the game. He said postgame that he expected to play Tuesday in Atlanta.
- Ian Mahinmi left the game with 5:53 remaining after hurting his right shoulder. Though he briefly felt numbness in his arm after the initial hit, Mahinmi said after the game that his shoulder felt "okay" and was simply sore.
- The Pacers and Magic meet again in Orlando on Sunday, Feb. 9 and on the last day of the regular season, Wednesday, April 16.
- The night's listed attendance: 16,266.
The Pacers travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks at Philips Arena. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. Game Preview »