Pacers at Magic

Game Preview: Pacers at Magic

Friday, April 9, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at Amway Center

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After an undermanned Pacers squad racked up a season-high 141 points in a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, the group hopes to stay hot against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center on Friday night.

Although this will be the second time this season that the Blue & Gold will square off against the Disney dwellers, they will be facing a much different lineup than previously. In what local sportscasters have been describing as a "roster renaissance," Orlando was an extreme seller at the trade deadline. The Magic traded the familiar faces of Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier in exchange for a bevy of younger players and draft picks.

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The eradication of Orlando's original roster has given others a time in the spotlight. This will be the first time the Pacers will see Chuma Okeke, the highly-touted rookie out of Auburn. Drafted 16th overall in 2019, Okeke sat out the full 2019-20 NBA season rehabilitating a torn ACL suffered during the 2019 NCAA Tournament. He has scored in double figures in six of his last eight appearances, including 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting in a seven-point win over the Los Angeles Clippers on March 30.

Third-year center Wendell Carter Jr. has also been the beneficiary of more playing time. After playing a limited role during his first two-and-a-half seasons with the Chicago Bulls, the 6-10 center has reached double figures in five straight games, including a team-high 21 in a 115-110 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on April 1. With these two performing decently under the solid veteran leadership of Terrence Ross (16.2 points per game, 24 in his last outing), the rebuilding Magic could put up a fight.

Although the availability of Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner remains in question, one certainty is that the Pacers are hungry for more wins. If they stay sidelined, look for Aaron Holiday (22 points against Minnesota), T.J. McConnell (19 points, 15 assists), and JaKarr Sampson (16 points) to step up once again.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Caris LeVert, SG - Edmond Sumner, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Doug McDermott, C - Goga Bitadze
Magic: PG - Michael Carter-Williams, SG - Dwayne Bacon, SF - James Ennis III, PF - Chuma Okeke, C - Wendell Carter Jr.

Injury Report

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (sore right hip), Domantas Sabonis - questionable (left ankle sprain), Myles Turner - out (right ankle sprain), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)

Magic: Markelle Fultz – out (torn left ACL), Gary Harris – out (left adductor strain), Jonathan Isaac – out (left knee injury recovery), Karim Mane – out (sore right hamstring), Otto Porter Jr. – out (left foot pain)

Last Meeting

Jan. 22, 2021: The Pacers secured a thrilling 120-118 overtime victory after Malcolm Brogdon drilled a 3-point dagger on the right wing with 3.6 seconds left in the extra frame. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Blue & Gold.

Brogdon's triple in the waning seconds helped him record a team-high 23 points on the night. In his first action since suffering a right-hand avulsion fracture, Myles Turner added 22 on 9-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-6 from deep. In just his second game back from a torn ACL, Jeremy Lamb also tallied 22 to go with seven boards.

Although Brogdon's clutch shot capped the night, it didn't come without some hair-raising moments beforehand. After seven points from Evan Fournier gave the Magic a 115-110 lead early into overtime, the Blue & Gold had to fight from behind. An apparent 7-0 Pacers spree was nixed after a video review determined Brogdon stepped out of bounds before firing in a 3-pointer from the left. What was a 117-115 Indiana lead changed to a one-point edge for Orlando.

After a Domantas Sabonis layup cut the Pacers' deficit to 118-117, Fournier had his own attempt to ice the game. However, the ball rattled out of the cylinder after falling halfway through. Brogdon wouldn't miss the next time.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have won 23 of the last 28 regular season games against Orlando dating back to the 2012-13 season. Indiana holds a 10-2 record on the road over that span.
  • Indiana's 14-12 record away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse is the fourth-best road record in the Eastern Conference
  • Magic guard Gary Harris attended Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, IN, where he finished with a school-record 1,540 points (16.7 points per game).

Tickets

A limited number of tickets for all upcoming Pacers home games from March 17 - April 21 are now on sale. Tickets for the final nine regular season home games will go on sale on Monday, April 19. Single Game Tickets »   Health & Safety Guidelines »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Pat Boylan (play-by-play)





by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

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