Oladipo’s Final Shot Falls Short as Magic Lose to Pacers

By on February 21, 2016
Paul George (photo Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports)

Here, Paul George had 20 points back on January 6th the last time the Pacers were at the Amway Center and Indiana won 95-86.  And Paul George had 20 points tonight and the Pacers won again 105-102. (photo Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports)

Orlando, Fla. –The Orlando Magic dropped another close on at home on Sunday, falling to the Indiana Pacers by a score of 102-105. The game came down to a corner three-point attempt by shooting guard Victor Oladipo, who threw up a prayer as he thought Monta Ellis fouled him. There was no call, and that half-hearted heave would be the last play in a game characterized by errors on both sides.

“The missed layups, missed free throws, a ton of busted defensive coverages, turnovers, throwing silly lobs on the break, just not a processional performance,” said Magic coach Scott Skiles following the loss.

A crazy sequence in the fourth quarter would define the game. As the Magic trailed by two in the final 30 seconds, Pacers’ All-Star small forward missed a wide open three leading to a Magic rebound. Magic center Nikola Vucevic then drew a foul, but missed one of the free throws.

After a miss by Ellis, the Magic had one final 10-second possession to win the game. Down one, the play was for newly added point guard Brandon Jennings. When Jennings drew a double team, he passed out to Oladipo on the wing, who caught Ellis with a fake, but jumped into him instead of taking the shot straight up.

The Pacers committed 17 turnovers in the first half alone, “…and the score was tied (at halftime), that’s not a good sign,” reiterated Skiles. The Magic took control early due to a rash of mistakes by the Indiana offense, but the struggles of Oladipo and center Nikola Vucevic kept things tight in the first half. The usually sturdy one-two punch combined for 7-of-19 from the floor going in the first two periods.

Things only got shakier from there, as Paul George overcame a five-point first half to score 13 in the third quarter alone. He and Ellis would score 20 and 21 respectively to lead the Pacers in scoring.

When the fourth quarter began, it seemed that both teams were clawing desperately to assert themselves in the game. Pacers’ sub C.J. Miles buried a three to start the period, giving the Pacers a four-point lead. This was erased quickly, as Magic point guard C.J. Watson stole the ball and fed it to forward Ersan Ilyasova for a crowd-pleasing dunk.

The Magic would struggle to separate themselves in the fourth quarter, however, leading for less than 30 seconds in the period. Despite a higher shooting percentage, the Magic would make only nine of their 15 free throws.

A large part of the fourth quarter came down to the Monta Ellis vs. Victor Oladipo positional battle. Against Dallas on Friday, it was Oladipo that took control – but he fell short when asked to do the same against the Pacers. Oladipo had just three points in the quarter, going 1-of-3 from the floor and allowing Ellis to score 10 on the other end. Despite recording three steals and two blocks on the night, the shooting guard’s defense faltered when it mattered most.

Evan Fournier paced the Magic with a game-high 23 points, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. He scored 9 in the first quarter, and became a focal point of Orlando’s offense throughout.

Also of note, trade deadline acquisition Brandon Jennings played three more minutes than entrenched starter Elfrid Payton. Because of Jennings’s shooting ability, he has been called upon in both games so far to lead his team in the final possession.

The Magic (24-30) will travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday to avenge their mid-January loss to the last-place 76ers. Their next home date will be against the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Thursday at 7 P.M.

Final

1 2 3 4 T
IND 20 27 33 25 105
ORL 22 25 32 23 102
Pacers
STARTERS MIN FG REB AST PTS
M. TurnerPF 31 5-9 8 1 12
P. GeorgeSF 36 7-19 4 6 20
I. MahinmiC 32 6-6 9 2 14
G. HillPG 34 2-11 7 7 8
M. EllisSG 39 8-17 4 3 21
BENCH MIN FG REB AST PTS
L. AllenPF 17 1-2 0 3 2
S. HillSF 14 0-0 2 1 1
C.J. MilesSF 13 6-8 0 0 14
J. HillC 16 6-10 10 2 13
J. YoungPG 8 0-0 0 1 0
C. BudingerSF DNP-COACH’S DECISION
G. Robinson IIISG DNP-COACH’S DECISION
TEAM 41-82 44 26 105
50.0%

Magic

STARTERS MIN FG REB AST PTS
A. GordonPF 30 4-11 11 4 10
N. VucevicC 35 8-15 13 0 19
E. PaytonPG 23 1-5 2 4 4
E. FournierSG 34 8-14 1 2 23
V. OladipoSG 41 6-17 7 8 17
BENCH MIN FG REB AST PTS
E. IlyasovaPF 18 3-9 3 0 7
J. SmithPF 13 4-8 4 1 8
C.J. WatsonPG 12 0-1 0 1 2
B. JenningsPG 25 4-9 4 7 12
M. HezonjaSG 9 0-2 0 0 0
A. NicholsonPF DNP-COACH’S DECISION
D. MarbleSF DNP-COACH’S DECISION
D. DedmonC DNP-COACH’S DECISION
TEAM 38-91 45 27 102
41.8%
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