Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
Steals, points off turnovers, transition buckets, a ridiculously high three-point field goal percentage, getting a former All-Star into foul trouble. These are things that have been highly irregular for the Magic this season, but were key elements to their win against the Pacers.
It all started with Nikola Vucevic and Glen Davis in the post. Both big men were on point and set the tone early on after Indiana jumped out to an early lead.
The Pacers got off to a nice start behind Paul George. That start was magnified a bit by a sluggish Magic team that did not look ready to play. But Orlando tightened up defensively, forcing six Pacer turnovers in the first quarter. Glen Davis’ nine points on 4-for-6 shooting in the period helped the cause and the Magic cruised into the second quarter up five.
Orlando immediately pushed their lead in the second quarter to nine on back-to-back three-pointers by Josh McRoberts and J.J. Redick. Ultimately, the Magic would go up by as much as 17, catching fire from three-point land. Defensively, the Magic kept Indiana out of the paint and forced a ton of jumpshots. Indiana shot 40 percent in the first half and only shot 1-for-7 from three-point range. Magic led by 16 at the half.
Vucevic finished the first half with a double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) and his quality performance kept the fire lit for the Magic all night.
Things broke open a bit in the third quarter. Indiana struggled to close the gap, Hibbert picked up his fourth foul, and the Magic kept hitting from deep. The Magic took their biggest lead of the game at 70-49, as Nelson, Afflalo, and McRoberts hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions late in the period. But the Pacers cut the deficit to 13 by the end of the quarter.
Orlando did not slow down at all in the fourth quarter. In fact, they kept pouring in three-pointers, eclipsing their season-high mark and holding the lead close to 20 for most of the period.
For the Pacers, this meant going through the motions with their starters on the bench. For the Magic, it meant closing out a win against a very good Pacers team.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
Vucevic dominated the paint and took Roy Hibbert completely out of the game. He all but neutralized the former All-Star center, holding him to 11 points and 7 rebounds while putting up 16 points and 15 rebounds himself.
The Magic were scorching from deep, shooting a season-high 12-for-21 from three-point range. Indiana shot just 2-for-15 from beyond the arc, meaning that Orlando had a 36-6 edge in three-point shooting.
That Was … Run and Gun and a Lot of Fun
Orlando forced 15 turnovers and scored on almost every one of them. They got out in transition and absolutely abused the Pacers from deep. It was a night full of confidence and swagger for the Magic.