The Magic have now suffered three embarrassing defeats in the last week. Their lone win? A 102-83 victory over the Indiana Pacers. That game was in Indiana. Sunday, the Magic will host the Pacers.
The Magic have dropped to 12-7 while the Pacers are 12-6.
The Magic are 14th in offensive rating (103.2), have improved to 14th in defensive rating (101.2) and play at the league’s 26th-fastest pace (89.4). The Pacers are 19th in offense (101.0), seventh in defense (99.1) and play at the league’s 20th fastest pace (90.9).
Tip-off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 6:00 pm EST and will be shown locally on Sun Sports.
As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5 and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
The officials for tonight’s game are Joe Crawford, Dick Bavetta and Courtney Kirkland.
The Line: Orlando – 3.0 (180u)
Jameer Nelson Chris Duhon**
*A calf injury kept Ryan Anderson out of Orlando’s loss to the New Orleans Hornets Friday.
**Chris Duhon will be playing for Nelson because of his injured jaw and concussion-like symptoms.
The Orlando Magic are reeling and many in Orlando have slammed their finger on the panic button. Orlando’s lone good performance this week came in a blowout win over the Pacers Tuesday night. Ryan Anderson had 24 points and eight rebounds in the victory.
The Magic have been an average team on both offense and defense while the Pacers have struggled offensively and played excellent defense.
Despite their struggles, the Magic haven’t played that badly on the defensive end and should be able to give the Pacers offense problems. The Pacers are a very balanced offense – all five starters average in double figures and two others (Tyler Hansbrough 9.6, George Hill 9.3) average over nine points per game. Danny Granger has been a big-time scorer over his career but this season he’s really struggled, averaging just 16.8 on 37.4% shooting.
The offensive end is where the Magic have to step up and that will be difficult against a tough Pacer defense. With Anderson, their second-leading scorer, banged up, that could be difficult.
Jameer Nelson injured his jaw Friday. Nelson’s jaw problem combined with his other nagging injuries may help to explain his season-long struggle. However, if Nelson doesn’t snap out of this funk (or get healthy) soon, the Magic are going to continue to struggle. The Magic need a lot more offensive production from Nelson and his back court mate, Jason Richardson. They each scored just two points in Orlando’s Tuesday victory of Indiana. They’ll need to be better if they want to get another win over the Pacers Sunday.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Tags: Chris Duhon Danny Granger Darren Collison David West Dwight Howard George Hill Glen Davis Hedo Turkoglu Indiana Pacers J.j. Redick Jameer Nelson Jason Richardson Larry Hughes Orlando Magic Otis Smith Paul George Quentin Richardson Roy Hibbert Ryan Anderson Stan Van Gundy Tyler Hansborough Von Wafer