After an entertaining first quarter, the Orlando Magic fell behind by as many as 13 before making an 18-2 run to close the half, taking a 51-48 lead into the break. The Pacers absolutely torched the Magic in the third quarter, outscoring them 32-17 to take control of the game, ultimately winning 106-85.
“In the third quarter, we had absolutely nothing,” Stan Van Gundy explained. “We had no energy whatsoever.”
Dwight Howard led the Magic with 24 and 13 rebounds while Danny Granger scored 24 points for the Pacers.
Although the Magic were without Jameer Nelson and the Pacers have been playing very well, one can’t help but take a look at Orlando’s last few games and see a sinking ship. After dreadful performances in three of their last four games, the Magic wound up being dominated in the second half by the only team they’ve defeated in the last week – the Pacers.
Offensively, the Magic executed poorly again. They shot the ball much better than they have recently, posting an effective field percentage of 56.3%, but turnovers and the ability to get the ball into the paint continues to kill any kind of rhythm on the offensive end.
They gave the ball away 19 times, resulting in 21 Pacer points. Free throw shooting also killed the Magic – they got to the line 29 times and hit just 13 of those shots (44.8%). Dwight Howard was 4-of-15 (26.7%) from the stripe.
Execution on offense has been Orlando’s biggest problem over the last few games, but their defense, for the most part, has struggled all season.
“Our defense, it’s not good… it’s not good,” Van Gundy said.
The Magic allowed the Pacers to dominate the paint, scoring 56 points in the paint to Orlando’s 36.
Indiana also owned the glass, out rebounding the Magic by 10, grabbing 13 offensive rebounds to Orlando’s five, which helps explain why Indiana took 24 more shots than Orlando in the game.
“If you’re going to give up 56 points in the paint, 16 second-chance points and 19 fast break points, that’s not confidence,” Van Gundy told reporters.
- Chris Duhon actually had a nice line filling in for Jameer Nelson. He had to play over 33 minutes. In those 33 minutes, he scored 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, dished out three assist and grabbed four rebounds.
- In the second half, the Pacers posted an effective field goal percentage of 69.5%. Orlando’s effective field goal percentage was just 48.3%. The Pacers also grabbed 23 boards to Orlando’s 11 and wound up outscoring the Magic 58-34.
- Despite his awful performance from the line, Howard still managed to score 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting and pull down 13 rebounds. However, he wound up with five turnovers and just didn’t look quite as good on the defensive end as he normally does.
- After the game, Van Gundy seemed somewhat lost telling reporters, “We’ve got to fight through it… I don’t know what else we can do.” He want to say that it’s easy to pick out what’s wrong with a team, but fixing it is another story.
- J.J. Redick gave the most telling quote after the game when he =told the collected media, “We’re not playing as hard as the other team.”
Next Up: The Magic will be in Philadelphia to take on the 76ers Monday night.
Final Thought: This is the worst stretch of basketball for the Magic in a few years.
(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)
Topics: 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