The Indiana Pacers are now 2-0 coming back from the All-Star break after knocking off the Orlando Magic 105-102 in the Amway Center. With 3:10 remaining in the fourth quarter, Indiana led 99-98, setting the stage for an exciting finish.
Leading by two with 1:17 to play, 19-year-old rookie Myles Turner drained a jumper to give the Pacers a 103-99 advantage. Monta Ellis had an opportunity for a dagger three on Indiana's next possession, but his attempt was off the mark. The long rebound created a fast break opportunity for the Magic and Aaron Gordon slammed home a dunk to cut the lead to two, 103-101, with 43.8 seconds left.
On Indiana's next possession, Paul George badly missed a long range attempt, giving the Magic a chance to tie or take the lead. Orlando's Nikola Vucevic drew a foul but only converted one of his two free throws.
Trying to seal the game, Ellis missed an elbow jump shot. Orlando grabbed the rebound, and with 10.5 seconds, had one final possession to win the game. Victor Oladipo attempted a 3-pointer with a couple ticks left, but it wasn't close as Turner pulled down the rebound to lock up the team's second straight win.
"What I love about this team, the way we’re playing right now, is I really trust our defense," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "We were getting stops and giving ourselves a chance. And, so we talked about that final stretch problem; tonight’s game we’re going to win with our defense. The guys rose to the challenge.”
Both teams got off to a slow start in this one. With 8:22 to play in the opening quarter, Orlando led just 5-4 as Indiana committed four turnovers and shot 2-of-6 from the floor. Orlando wasn't any better, shooting only 2-of-9 to begin the contest.
By the end of the first, the offenses picked up a bit, but the Pacers turned the ball over 10 times and trailed 22-20.
In the early stages of the second quarter, Orlando took charge of the game. With 8:55 left in the period, the Magic doubled-up the Pacers in the period, 10-5, to take a 32-25 lead.
Though turnovers continued to be an issue in the half for Indiana, as it committed 17, Orlando wasn't able to take advantage. The Pacers tied the contest at 43 with 2:38 remaining in the half, thanks to an 8-2 run. At halftime, the teams were tied at 47.
“We are very fortunate that we didn’t lose this with all the turnovers we had," George said. "Our defense held up and we were able to get some of those stops from the turnovers."
For most of the third, neither team could establish a lead. The game was tied at 61 with just over six minutes left in the quarter, until back-to-back Magic triples gave the home team a six-point advantage.
But like the first half, a deficit didn't discourage Indiana. The visitors finished the quarter on a 7-2 run to lead 80-79 heading into the final quarter. Paul George's 13 third period points were the catalyst in Indiana taking the lead..
The Pacers were led by 21 points from Ellis and 20 from George. George Hill made his presence known as well, finishing with eight points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Bench play was key for Indiana too. Jordan Hill and C.J Miles combined for 27 points to spearhead the second unit.
For Orlando, Evan Fournier led the way with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Nikola Vuecvic finished with a double-double, racking up 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Stat of the Night
After committing 17 turnovers in the first half, Indiana only turned the ball over four times the rest of the way.
You Can Quote Me On That
"It was a total team effort. My teammates had my back, and we have each other’s back. We were playing together as a team and everybody made shots and everybody made defensive plays at the end. That fourth quarter was a total team effort and we came out with the win." —Monta Ellis
"It’s definitely frustrating. We got some good looks. We didn’t convert some lay-ups and some free throws. If we’re going to be a good team, we definitely have to knock those down and make those plays." —Orlando's Brandon Jennings
"We talked about that and talked about how we turned the ball over a lot those last two games. That was the emphasis, to take care of the ball. For the most part we did a good job. We’ve just got to close it out." —Orlando's Elfrid Payton
"I have a lot of respect for this team here. They came after us. They forced seventeen turnovers in the first half. That was forced. That wasn’t us being sloppy. We were a little sloppy, but they were up in our face and pressuring us, so you have to give them a lot of credit." —Frank Vogel
- Indiana committed 17 turnovers in the first half, the most ever by a Magic opponent in a half.
- For the second time this season, Monta Ellis made five 3-pointers.
- Jordan Hill recorded his sixth double-double of the season (13 points, 10 rebounds).
Inside The Numbers
- George Hill's +/- rating of +9 was the team's best on the night.
- Both teams struggled from the charity stripe, combining to miss 17 free throws.
Indiana continues its road trip tomorrow night, as the Pacers head to Miami to face Dwyane Wade and the Heat. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 PM ET.
Next Home Game Tickets
The Pacers return home on Wednesday, Feb. 24 to host the Knicks at 7:00 PM in a Hickory Night Game. Find Tickets »