Bennedict Mathurin

Game Rewind: Pacers 120, Magic 126

Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 7:00 PM ET at Amway Center

Game Recap: Magic 126, Pacers 120

Game Recap

Another major comeback wasn’t in the cards on the second leg of a back-to-back for the Indiana Pacers.

While the Pacers have overcome slow starts on multiple occasions this season – including a 21-point deficit on Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls –  the Blue & Gold couldn’t recover from down 17 in the first quarter to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

The Pacers (24-26) gave up 46 points in the opening frame – the most of any quarter this season –  and never led despite getting it all the way down to a one-possession game in the fourth quarter in a 126-120 loss to the Magic (19-29) at Amway Center.

Two of the top rookies from the 2022 NBA draft took the floor, as No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero had 23 points for the Magic and the No. 6 pick, Bennedict Mathurin, scored a game-high 26 points for the Pacers.

Between the two 20-year-olds, Banchero leads all rookies in scoring average (20.7 points per game) while Mathurin has more total points (882-852).

“I feel like I’m learning a lot and I’m growing as a player and as a person, too,” Mathurin said postgame. “I’ve been through adversity most of my life and most of my career as well. I feel like I’m pretty prepared for those moments, and stepping up in those moments ... but also just being me.”

The Magic shot 56.1 percent from the field and 53.6 percent from 3-point range while the Blue & Gold shot 48.2 percent overall and 42.9 percent from deep.

After Mathurin, center Myles Turner had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Buddy Hield scored 21 points on six made 3-pointers.

Indiana native Garry Harris was second in scoring for the Magic with 22 points and five players scored in double figures on the winning team.

In the first quarter, the Magic took an early 46-29 lead.

Orlando made 16 of 25 shots in the opening frame and hit all eight free throw attempts while the Pacers turned the ball over five times and made 50 percent of their shots.

The Magic jumped to an 11-0 lead, on six points from Banchero, two minutes into the game.

Out of a timeout, Pacers point guard T.J. McConnell converted an and-one opportunity to stop the bleeding, but the Magic went on a 7-2 mini run to go up 18-5 with 8:54 left in the first quarter.

Orlando came out on fire from the field, making eight of their first 11 shot attempts.

The Magic continued to pour it on the remainder of the quarter, and a 3-pointer by Jalen Suggs with one tick left on the clock put his team up by 17.

Banchero led all scorers with 13 points after 12 minutes of play, going 6-for-6 from the free throw line, in the first quarter for the Magic.

The Pacers scored six unanswered points to open the second quarter and then used a 14-2 run, on six points from Mathurin and 3-pointers from Oshae Brissett and Hield, to make it 56-54 with 5:10 left in the half.

Orlando responded with a 9-2 run to go up 71-62, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Hield made it 71-68 Magic with 23 ticks on the clock before a basket by Franz Wagner off a hail mary pass by Suggs with a second left on the clock put the Magic up by five points at the break.

Both teams shot at a high clip in the first half, as the Magic made 60.9 percent of their shots while the Pacers hit 57.1 percent of their attempts. Hield had 17 points – making all five of his 3-point attempts – and Mathurin had 14 points for the Pacers while Banchero scored 17 for the Magic in the first half.

Out of the break, the teams traded baskets until the Magic were able to establish some distance at 93-83 with 5:11 left in the third quarter.

Turner helped keep the Pacers in the game, scoring 10 points in the third period, but the visitors trailed 102-91 going into the final frame.

While Hield hit another 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter, the Magic then went on a 9-0 scoring spree behind four different scorers to lead 111-94 with eight minutes left.

Indiana chipped away at the lead down the stretch, but never went ahead.

A basket by Markelle Fultz with 90 seconds remaining and a pair of free throws by Banchero with a minute left ended up giving the Magic enough of a cushion down the stretch despite the Pacers cutting it to four points with 19 seconds on the clock.

“There's no questioning the fight in this team,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “The second, third and fourth quarters were really good, really solid. You give up 46 In the first quarter,  it's almost like you gotta play a perfect game from there.”

Despite the loss, the Pacers still lead the season series 2-1 over the Magic. The teams will play again on Feb. 25 in Orlando.

The Pacers will host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at Gainbridge Arena.

Inside the Numbers

Mathurin has now scored 20 or more points 20 times this season. He has now done it three games in a row, which is a first for him.

Mathurin now has 19 20-point games off the bench, which is the second most by a rookie since starters were listed in box scores during the 1970-1971 season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Ben Gordon currently owns the record with 24 (2004-2005).

The Pacers had 14 turnovers after just giving the ball away a season-low seven times on Tuesday. Orlando finished with 17 turnovers.

The Magic outscored the Pacers 27-14 in fast-break points.

Mathurin has attempted 10 or more free throws 14 times in a  game this season.

The Pacers are now 6-4 on the second leg of back-to-backs.

Turner has scored in double digits in the third quarter in back-to-back games.

Turner has 13 double-doubles this season.

Chris Duarte had a career-high six steals for the Pacers, which is also the most by a player on the team in a game this season.

Hield has made six or more 3-pointers seven times this season and five or more 19 times.

Harris, a Fishers native, had a season-high in points scored (22).

All 11 players that took the floor for Orlando scored at least one basket.

Postgame Media Availability: Jan. 25, 2023

You Can Quote Me On That

“Tonight we saw the two best rookies in the league. Their stats were incredibly comparable and they're both great. That was fun to watch.” Carlisle on Mathurin and Banchero

“The second night of a back-to-back is not an excuse because we've been good all year in those situations. So we've just got to be better.” Carlisle on the loss

“It’s like he's gaining momentum and gaining strength, and so that's a testament to his strong will as a player. So far hasn't missed a game. He was really aggressive from start to finish tonight – he did a good job attacking.” Carlisle on Mathurin’s recent play

“I’m just trying to stay aggressive. Every time I come into the game, I’m trying to be the same person – trying to attack the rim, getting to the foul line and making winning plays. I feel like it has been pretty helpful for the team.”

“I always believe in the saying that if you put the work in, the basketball gods are going to reward you.” – Mathurin on his game

Stat of the Night

In the first quarter, the Pacers gave up a season-high 46 points in a quarter. The previous high for a quarter against the Pacers was 44 by the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 30.

  • Pacers star point guard Tyrese Haliburton missed an eighth straight game due to knee and elbow sprains and rookie Andrew Nembhard missed a second consecutive game due to a non-COVID-19 illness.
  • Six players were active for the Magic against the Pacers that didn’t play in the previous two contests due to injuries.
  • This was the first matchup between Mathurin and Banchero, who are widely considered the frontrunners for the Rookie of the Year Award.
Up Next

The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, Jan. 27 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>