Pacers at Magic

Game Preview: Pacers at Magic

Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 7:00 PM ET at the Amway Center
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss





Matchup

The Pacers (32-18) have dropped three straight games for the first time in over a year, but will look to get back in the win column on Thursday night, when they make the second stop of a four-game road trip in Orlando.

Indiana was the only team in the NBA not to lose three consecutive games in 2018, but has now dropped all three of its contests since losing Victor Oladipo to a season-ending knee injury. That includes Wednesday night's 107-89 loss in Washington, where the Pacers committed 17 turnovers and allowed the Wizards to shoot 52.6 percent from the field.

For the third straight game, the Pacers fell behind early and faced a double-digit deficit at halftime, something that had happened just three times in their first 47 games. Bradley Beal and the Wizards led by as many as 21 points in the first half on Wednesday and took a 14-point lead into the break.

"It's just low energy right now," Pacers coach Nate McMillan said after the loss. "We've kind of lost our way here and we've got to find it. Victor is not coming back. We've got to move past that and not look at what we don't have and focus on what we do have, but we got to get more energy in the game. Defensively, we're not stopping anybody."

Indiana has an opportunity to bounce back on Thursday against another struggling team in the Magic (20-31). Orlando has dropped four straight games and seven of its last eight, although five of those losses came by five points or fewer.

The strength of the Magic is their frontcourt. Center Nikola Vucevic appears likely to make his first All-Star team, averaging 20.7 points on 52 percent shooting and 12 rebounds per game. Forward Aaron Gordon has been the Robin to Vucevic's Batman, contributing 15.9 points and 7.7 boards per contest.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Darren Collison, SG - Edmond Sumner, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Myles Turner
Magic: PG - D.J. Augustin, SG - Evan Fournier, SF - Jonathan Isaac, PF - Aaron Gordon, C - Nikola Vucevic

Injury Report

Pacers: Tyreke Evans - out (lower back soreness), Victor Oladipo - out (ruptured quad tendon in right knee)

Magic: Timofey Mozgov – out (right knee surgery)

Last Meeting

December 7, 2018: The Pacers had no problems handling the Magic in Orlando, rolling to a 112-90 win. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 of his game-high 26 points in the first half to lead Indiana to victory.

Thaddeus Young added 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, while Cory Joseph scored 15 points off the bench. Kyle O'Quinn — in the rotation in place of a sick Domantas Sabonis — racked up a double-double with 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 10 rebounds.

"Every night is different," O'Quinn said after the win. "I guess the best thing around here is be ready. You never know what is going to happen and that is the beauty of the NBA."

Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Aaron Gordon finished with 20 points, 14 boards, and four assists.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have won eight straight road games at the Amway Center. The Magic's last win over Indiana in Orlando came on Feb. 9, 2014.
  • Overall, the Blue & Gold have won 15 of their last 16 and 19 of their last 21 meetings with the Magic.
  • Indiana is 6-2 on the season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back, but just 1-2 when that game is on the road.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner needs two blocks on Thursday to reach 500 for his career.

Tickets

Following their four-game road trip, the Pacers return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to host LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana/NBA TV - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter)
Radio: 107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)

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