The Indiana Pacers made it interesting on Saturday night, but they did just enough to come away with a bounce-back win after Friday night's loss in Cleveland. The Pacers (27-23) rallied from a 21-point first half deficit and held off the Orlando Magic (14-34), 114-112, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana trailed by 10 points with 6:15 remaining before reeling off nine unanswered points to make it a 106-105 game with 4:06 to play. But that was just the beginning of a massive Pacers run.
Victor Oladipo knocked down a jumper with 3:30 left to give Indiana its first lead of the night. Then on the next two possessions, Oladipo dished to Domantas Sabonis out of the pick-and-roll, first for a thunderous dunk and then for a hard-nosed layup through contact.
Two Elfrid Payton free throws with 2:03 to play ended the 15-0 Pacers run, but Oladipo crossed up Aaron Gordon on the other end to push the Blue & Gold's lead back to five points.
The Magic fought back, however, with baskets by Payton and Evan Fournier to make it a 113-112 game with 22.3 seconds remaining. After Sabonis made one of two free throws with 20.5 seconds to play, Gordon missed a jumper from the right baseline, but Bismack Biyombo tapped the rebound back out to Gordon, who drove and drew a foul on Sabonis with 7.9 seconds left.
The 22-year-old missed both foul shots, but the Magic corralled the rebound on the second miss and Fournier found Jonathon Simmons for a wide-open look at a game-winning 3-pointer on the right wing. Simmons couldn't convert the shot, however, and the sellout crowd let out a collective sigh of relief as the ball bounced off the rim and into Oladipo's hands as the buzzer sounded.
It was a frenetic finish to yet another crazy Pacers comeback. The Blue & Gold have now rallied from a deficit of 20 or more points to win three times this season and Saturday was the sixth time they've rallied from a deficit of 15 or more points and won.
"It's like clockwork with us, man," Oladipo joked after the win. "We get down, come back better in the second half. It just shows the resilience of this team.
"We got it going...Everybody stayed positive. We knew we needed to play better. We came out in the second half and just set the tone on both ends and it worked out great for us."
Oladipo led all scorers with 24 points, five rebounds, and six assists. Lance Stephenson added 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, five boards, and six assists.
The rested Magic, who last played on Tuesday, raced out to an early lead. Orlando scored the first six points and led 17-7 five minutes into Saturday's contest.
The Pacers struggled to find any rhythm throughout the first quarter, missing 15 of their first 21 shots. On the other end, Sabonis fouled Gordon on a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the frame and Gordon converted the four-point play to give the visitors a 32-22 lead heading into the second.
The Magic kept rolling in the second quarter, extending the margin to as many as 21 points. Orlando got both Pacers centers into foul trouble, drawing three fouls apiece on both Sabonis and Myles Turner — back in the rotation after missing the previous nine games with a right elbow injury — before the midway point of the second quarter.
The visitors shot 60 percent from the field in the first half, but the Pacers were able to create a little momentum heading into halftime, as point guard Darren Collison raced down the floor and knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer to trim the Magic's lead to 70-53.
Indiana then opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run to cut their deficit to 10 points. The hosts got as close as seven points in the frame and headed into the fourth trailing by single digits, 92-84.
Stephenson ignited the crowd with his play off the bench to open the fourth quarter, quickly amassing six points and two assists, but the Pacers were unable to make much headway until the second half of the final period.
Despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Pacers were able to summon the proper adrenaline down the stretch to put the finishing touches on another comeback.
"We feed off the crowd," Stephenson said. "The crowd gets us energized. Even a game like tonight, we all felt tired, but the energy from the crowd got us going. They definitely helped us win tonight."
Five Pacers players finished in double figures on the night. Thaddeus Young tallied 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, six rebounds, and two steals. Sabonis added 17 points and nine boards, while Collison chipped in 11 points and seven assists.
Gordon led the Magic with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. Fournier added 21 points in the loss, going 9-for-16 from the field and 3-for-6 from 3-point range.
The Pacers continue their three-game homestand on Monday when they welcome the Charlotte Hornets to The Fieldhouse at 7:00 PM ET. It will be the first of four meetings between Indiana and Charlotte this season.
Inside the Numbers
Stephenson's 21 points were a season high. He had scored 18 points three times this season, most recently on Dec. 29 in Chicago.
Turner played just 10:57 off the bench due to foul trouble. He tallied four points on 2-of-5 shooting, three rebounds, and one steal in his first game action since Jan. 8.
The Magic had a distinct advantage from the free throw line, attempting 32 foul shots to Indiana's 19, but failed to take advantage of their extra opportunities. Orlando made just 20 shots from the charity stripe (62.5 percent), while the Pacers made 15 (78.9 percent).
The Pacers outscored Orlando 60-50 in points in the paint.
The Magic outscored Indiana 19-8 in fastbreak points and 16-6 in second-chance points.
You Can Quote Me On That
"This team does continue to fight, even when they're down, they dig down deeper and they find a way to fight back. I thought we came out very soft tonight....The challenge to them was just 'Let's get our heads up and go out and be us. We can win this game.' They felt that way and they just continued to work their way back into the game." -Pacers head coach Nate McMillan
"When you're collectively doing it together as a team, you're continuing to grind it out, the fans are behind you, you still have that momentum...it's very, very tough for us not to win that game." -Collison on the atmosphere down the stretch
"That's a good basketball team we faced and credit the Pacers. They made more plays and got to the rim, they got the momentum back, got the game back in their own gym. I thought our guys fought their tails off. I'm proud of their effort and their performance." -Magic head coach Frank Vogel
"Just to be out there with my guys again, that was the most important part and the best part. It obviously wasn't the performance I wanted, but you build on it and keep going." -Turner on being back on the floor
"I literally grew up with those guys. I know their families, they're like my families. It's awesome to compete against them. They're going to turn things around over there, just give them a (little) time." -Oladipo on playing against Orlando, the franchise that drafted him in 2013 and where he spent his first three NBA seasons
"I'm going to be talking big smack, so all you Purdue fans who cheered for me tonight, you don't have to cheer for me tomorrow. I don't want you to. I love the rivalry. I'm looking forward to it." -Oladipo on his plans to attend the Indiana-Purdue game tomorrow, his first game back at Assembly Hall since turning pro
Stat of the Night
The Pacers outscored Orlando 61-42 in the second half. Indiana shot 63.4 percent from the field over the final two quarters, going 26-for-41.
- The Pacers have now won eight straight games against Orlando and swept the season series with the Magic for the second straight season. Indiana went 3-0 against former coach Frank Vogel this year and is 7-0 against him over the past two years.
- Indiana is 60-46 all-time against the Magic, including a 36-18 record at home.
- The Pacers picked up their first win this season when playing at home on the second night of a back-to-back. They are now 1-3 in those games and 4-7 overall when playing for the second straight night.
The Pacers continue their homestand by welcoming Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday, Jan. 29 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »
Pacers Team Store Game Night Special
Pacers City Edition Inspiration T-Shirt - $14. The Game Night Special can be purchased at the Pacers Team Store on game day, as well as online from 10:00 AM-Midnight. Order Online »