The Orlando Magic lost to the Indiana Pacers 98-79 on Monday.
Even the most prolific offenses in the NBA have struggled against the Pacers defense this season. The Pacers entered Monday’s game with the best defense in the NBA, holding opposing offenses to 90.6 points per game on 41.6 percent shooting from the field.
Unfortunately, the Magic do not have a strong offense, particularly in the half court. Compounding the difficulties for the Magic is that they were on the back-end of a back-to-back. The Magic were held to 39.8 percent shooting from the field.
Here are three other takeaways from the Magic loss.
Victor Oladipo struggles
Orlando Magic rookie Victor Oladipo struggled mightily against the Pacers. Oladipo finished the game with only 6 points and turned the ball over four times due to Pacers guard Lance Stephenson’s constant pressure on defense. It wasn’t all negative though, Oladipo had a career-high 11 assists.
All-Star snubs put on a show
Both Orlando Magic guard Arron Afflalo and Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson were candidates for the Eastern Conference All-Star team. However, both players just missed the cut and both players shined over the course of the game.
Afflalo led all players in scoring with 20 points in a losing effort. He was particularly on target from long distance as he was 4 of 7 from the 3-point line.
Stephenson has emerged as one of the more complete young players in the NBA. He currently leads the NBA with four triple-doubles and he put up another wonderful performance against the Magic. In addition to his strong defensive performance against Oladipo, he also had a strong showing on the offensive end of the court with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Nikola Vucevic out plays Roy Hibbert
Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic took it to All-Star center Roy Hibbert on Monday. Hibbert never got into a rhythm offensively, while Vucevic also did a good job keeping the 7-foot-2 center off the glass as he only had nine points and eight rebounds.
Vucevic responded on the offensive end with a double-double against one of the best defensive centers in the NBA with 16 points and 13 rebounds. The 3rd year center was particularly sharp with his post up game, which surprised Hibbert on a few occasions.
The next game for the Magic will be against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. The Magic and the Pistons are tied 1-1 in the season series, with Wednesday’s game being the final match up of the season between the two teams. The Magic defeated the Pistons 109-92 on Dec. 29, while the Pistons returned the favor on Jan. 28 with a 103-87 win. Tip-off from the Amway Center in Orlando is set for 7 p.m.