Orlando, Fla. – – The term “revenge game” is often used when a player or coach faces his former team while at a new gig. For Magic head coach Frank Vogel, formerly of the Pacers, that revenge will have to wait for next season.
His Magic squad did their best but were eventually overwhelmed by the Pacers and their All-Star forward Paul George.
The Magic would come out hot, hitting 6-of-7 threes and scoring 38 points in the first quarter. That unsustainable pace would be halted in the second, however, and the talented Pacers squad in the midst of a playoff race would take care of business early.
The Pacers would outscore the Magic by eight in the second period and take a nine-point lead at the half. Orlando would briefly scrap their way back into it, as an Aaron Gordon jumper brought them to within four late in the third quarter, but the Pacers would recover and put together an even more dominant second half, closing the door on any hope of a Magic comeback.
The Magic defense would collapse down the stretch in this one, as Indiana scored 68 points in the second half on 61 percent shooting.
“It was a disappointing performance by our guys,” said Vogel, “we were terrible on the defensive end. I challenged them every timeout and every huddle and at halftime to raise their level. We never got them under control…”
Paul George asserted himself on the Magic defense to the tune of 37 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, showing Magic fans exactly why he has earned four All-Star appearances and three All-NBA team selections throughout his career.
Pacers’ center Myles Turner also had a big game, notching a 23-point, 10 rebound double-double.
Once the deluge of Magic threes ended, the Pacers did their work by getting to the rim and locking down the paint. Indiana scored 64 points in the paint, mostly on open layups and dunks.
“It was a layup show,” said Magic forward Evan Fournier, “I mean it was layups after layups after layups. We didn’t protect the paint at all.”
There was one bright spot for the Magic in the form of Terrence Ross, who dropped a season-high 29 points in the loss. Ross was on fire from three, especially early, hitting 6-of-11 from downtown and powering the Magic to a team-wide 46 percent from deep.
The Orlando Magic are firmly out of the playoff race but can look to play spoiler to the Chicago Bulls when they travel to the Windy City on Monday. After losing to the Nets, the Bulls face a must-win game against Orlando, and with their backs against the wall, they are sure to put up a fight.
|A. JeffersonC||DNP-COACH’S DECISION|
|D.J. AugustinPG||DNP-COACH’S DECISION|