Magic Unable to Get Into a Rhythm in Second Straight Loss to Pacers

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Franz Wagner recorded 20 points and Gary Harris, a Fishers, Indiana native, scored 18 points in his second game of the season, but the shorthanded Orlando Magic never got into a consistent rhythm in Monday’s 123-102 loss to the Indiana Pacers.  

Key Stretch

After the Magic went up three with just over eight minutes left in the second quarter on a Wagner driving layup, the Pacers seized momentum with a 15-3 run. Tyrese Haliburton, who finished with 18 points and 14 assists, made two shots during that span, including a 3-pointer to complete the flurry. Veteran T.J. McConnell also made one of his three triples during that time. Coming into the night, McConnell hadn’t made a three this season. 

Key Stats

The Pacers did most of their damage in the paint and in transition. They scored 58 paint points and 21 fast break points. Indiana also had 12 more assists than Orlando and 10 more rebounds. 

Quote of the Day

“I think the NBA has done a great job with this. Obviously, the schedule comes out and you have to find out when you can find these moments. But I think it’s a great thing. It’s like a playoff type game – the adjustments you need to make. Then it obviously allows for guys to get rest being in the same city for a couple games.” – Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley on playing the same opponent twice in a row in the same city 

Injury Report

Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia strain), Paolo Banchero (sprained left ankle), Cole Anthony (right internal oblique muscle injury), Markelle Fultz (toe), Moe Wagner (sprained right midfoot), and Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation) were out for the Magic. Chuma Okeke exited the game with left knee soreness after playing 12 minutes and didn’t return. Chris Duarte (ankle) and Daniel Theis (knee) were unavailable for the Pacers. 

This Day in History

This wasn’t the first time the Magic were in Indianapolis on a Nov. 21. In 2008, the Magic beat the Pacers in an overtime thriller. Rashard Lewis, who scored 23 points, made three clutch shots in the final couple minutes of OT, including a go-ahead jumper with 23 seconds left. Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson also eclipsed the 20-point mark. Indiana featured three 20-plus-point scorers, including Marquis Daniels, who finished with 25 points. 

Rivals Report

The Pacers are exceeding expectations this year, largely because of how well their trio of guards have played. Haliburton has a good chance to be named an All-Star; Buddy Hield is one of the league’s premier shooters; and Bennedict Mathurin is a candidate for both the Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year Awards. It remains to be seen, though, what direction Indiana’s front office decides to move in. There have been rumblings going back to the summer about Hield and Myles Turner potentially being available in the trade market. 

Up Next

The Magic will have a few days to prepare for their next opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers, who will be in Orlando for two straight games, with the first taking place on Friday at 7 p.m. Like the Magic, the Sixers are battered with injuries. Currently, James Harden, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey are all dealing with foot injuries. Harden and Maxey will certainly miss both games against the Magic, while Embiid has already been ruled out for Philly’s games against Brooklyn and Charlotte and is expected to be listed as questionable going into Friday’s contest.