With the regular season coming to a close, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Indiana Pacers by the score of 92-74. With the win, the Magic finish with a record of 52-30, matching the win-loss total from head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s first season with the franchise in 2008. Orlando was led by a balanced attack, as four players scored in double-figures. Dwight Howard wrapped up an MVP-caliber year with 13 points, 13 rebounds, and four steals in 26 minutes of playing time. Ryan Anderson had 14 points, Hedo Turkoglu had 13 points, and Brandon Bass had 12 points — each of them playing sparingly in preparation for the 2011 NBA Playoffs which begin Saturday. As a result of Danny Granger and Jeff Foster not playing, coupled with the game being meaningless, it’s no surprise that the Magic’s victory felt like nothing more than a preseason game. Both head coaches emptied both benches in the second half and as such, the fans in attendance at the Amway Center or those watching on television were subjected to a brand of basketball that was about as ugly as it gets. Aside from Brandon Rush and Mike Dunleavy Jr., the Pacers struggled to find scoring from any of their players. Roy Hibbert committed five fouls in less than 10 minutes of action. As a team, Indiana shot 30.7 percent from the field. As for Orlando, they committed 28 turnovers. It was clear that the Magic and Pacers wanted to get things over with. The downside for Orlando is that Bass tweaked his left achilles early in the third quarter. Bass is expected to be fine for Game 1 against the Atlanta Hawks.
As for the game itself, there’s not much to write about. The Magic enjoyed a 53-29 lead at halftime because they were able to make three-pointers while attacking the rim for layups and dunks. To be frank, Indiana didn’t seem interested whatsoever in stopping Orlando from doing whatever they wanted on offense. And the Pacers didn’t seem interested in scoring, either.
If it wasn’t for Rush connecting on five three-pointers and Dunleavy Jr. catching fire in the third quarter, Indiana would have been lucky to score 60 points it seemed like. That’s how bad the Pacers were, especially without Granger to shoulder the scoring load. As such, the Magic were able to come away with the victory without much difficulty.
Turning the ball over 28 times in a game is ridiculous and it’s a miracle that the Magic were able to win by 18 points.
However, with the impending return of J.J. Redick and Gilbert Arenas to the rotation, part of the problem with turnovers should be fixed. Redick’s turnover rate is 9.5 percent, which is third-best for Orlando while Arenas is nowhere near as bad as Chris Duhon.
With Duhon, the Magic’s turnover issues have been really exacerbated to a large degree because his turnover rate is 30 percent. However, Duhon isn’t expected to see much playing time in the playoffs, so his turnover-happy ways shouldn’t be a major problem for Van Gundy.