The Orlando Magic got a huge win over the Chicago Bulls Thursday night and will look to make it two straight when they host the Indiana Pacers Sunday evening. The Pacers were defeated by the Miami Heat, their third straight loss, Saturday night, dropping their record to 23-15. The Magic enter the game with a record of 26-15.
These two teams met three times in less than two weeks. The Magic won 102-83 in Indiana on January 24 behind 24 points from Ryan Anderson. The Pacers returned the favor just five days later with a 106-85 victory in Orlando. In their third meeting, the Magic took down the Pacers 85-81 in Indiana. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 27 points in that game.
The Magic are 12th in offensive rating (104.3), 11th in defensive rating (101.8) and play at the league’s fourth-slowest pace (89.3). The Pacers are 15th in offensive rating (103.8), eighth in defensive rating (100.4) and play at the league’s 17th-fastest pace (91.2).
Tip-off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 6:00 pm EST and can be seen 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 James Capers, Matt Boland and Kevin Cutler.
The Line: Orlando – 4.0 (186.5)
*Hedo Turkoglu is suspended for the game.
**Jason Richardson (sprained left ankle) will likely miss at least three games.
Von Wafer (sore left shoulder) is also listed as questionable.
The Pacers rank right in the middle of the league in offensive efficiency and their leading scorer, Danny Granger (18.1 points per game), shoots just 38.7% from the field. However, the Pacers have four other players who average in double figures (Roy Hibbert 13.1, David West 12.6, Paul George 12.2, Darren Collison 11.0) and two others who average at least 9.2 ppg (George Hill 9.3, Tyler Hansbrough 9.2).
Indiana’s wings could take advantage of Orlando’s lack of depth with Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson out. Quentin Richardson and J.J. Redick will likely start.
With Turkoglu and Richardson out, that’s going to mean Quentin Richardson and Redick will need to score on offense while DeAndre Liggins may be called upon to defend. Earl Clark could also see extended minutes at small forward.
Offensively, you can’t expect much from Richardson, Liggins or Clark, so Dwight Howard, Ryan Anderson and Jameer Nelson will need to produce.
Howard, who will be matched up with All-Star Roy Hibbert, has averaged 21.7 points on 65.0% from the field in three games against the Pacers this season.
If the short-handed Magic can beat a solid Pacers teams, the league should be somewhat impressed.
(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