Game Preview: Pacers at Magic
Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 6:00 PM ET at Amway Center
Game Preview: Pacers (39-10) vs Magic (15-37)
Scott Agness | February 8, 2014
The Pacers and Orlando Magic square off for the second time in a week on Sunday night in Florida. The Pacers, winners of four in a row, have three games to play before All-Star Weekend, which begins on Thursday. The Magic are currently in the midst of a four-game homestand, while the Pacers are on the road for just the second time this month and the final time before the break.
Though the Magic have The Association’s second-worst record (15-37), just ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks, they have experienced success as of late.
Orlando most recently captured a signature victory over the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night, a thrilling 103-102 win at the buzzer. Indiana University graduate Victor Oladipo, the No. 2 pick in last June’s draft, chased down a long rebound, dribbled it up the floor and then passed to Maurice Harkless on the left block. Harkless than fired a pass to Tobias Harris, whose two-handed flush beat the buzzer and gave the Magic their second straight win.
The Magic have six double-figure scorers, led by guard Arron Afflalo, who received heavy consideration for an All-Star spot. Ultimately, his team’s lack of success perhaps held him back. Afflalo is shooting nearly 47 percent and averaging a team-high 20 points per game. 7-foot center Nikola Vucevic has been a steady force inside, as he’s averaging a double-double.
Oladipo has been a bit of fresh air the Magic have needed. He’s a hard-working, smart, athletic guard that makes others better. Like any rookie, he’s still adapting to the professional game, schedule, and travel, but he earned a spot in the Rising Stars Challenge, which is part of All-Star weekend.
The Pacers hope that shooting guard Lance Stephenson, who sat out for just the second time this season on Friday, can return for Sunday's game. However, there is no rush with the break at the end of the week. Stephenson is dealing with a lot of pain in his lower back after a scary fall against Atlanta last week. Danny Granger played over 40 minutes on Friday and Rasual Butler filled in admirably, hitting 3-of-4 shots for a season-high 10 points.
George Hill is coming off the best performance of his NBA career, scoring a career-high 37 points to help the Pacers top Portland in overtime. David West continues to take over games as he sees fit and is unquestionably the Pacers' most vocal leader. This is a perfect game for Paul George, who is shooting just 30 percent over the last seven games, to get back in rhythm.
Pacers: Lance Stephenson (day-to-day, lower back bruise)
“They're going to be good. They're a young team, they're explosive, and they've got guys that can make shots out there." — Paul George on the Magic
- The Pacers have won the last four meetings with the Magic, including the previous two matchups this season.
- Pacers guard George Hill played one season alongside Magic coach Jacque Vaughn, 38, in San Antonio. Hill was coached by Vaughn, an assistant on Gregg Popovich's Spurs staff from 2010-12, before being traded to Indiana in the summer of 2011.
- With a win over Portland on Friday, the Pacers have a 15-game lead on Chicago in the Central Division. Indiana is just the fourth team in league history to have a 15-game division lead before they've played 50 games.
February 3: The Pacers’ bench contributed a season-high 49 points in the team’s 98-79 win over the Magic last Monday. They held the visiting Magic, who lost for the 12th straight time away from home, to 29 points on 28 percent shooting in the second half. Orlando got back to within four late in the third period, but then the Pacers went on a 20-2 and cruised to victory. The Pacers never trailed, led by as many as 24 points in the final quarter, and outrebounded the Magic, 52-38.
Danny Granger hit 5-of-9 shots and finished with a season-best 16 points off the pine. Lance Stephenson had 15 points and 12 rebounds, Paul George tallied 15 and C.J. Watson added 12. Arron Afflalo posted a game-high 20 points for Orlando, and big man Nikola Vucevic registered his 19th double-double of the year (16 points, 13 rebounds).
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), Michael Grady (studio host)