Preview: Indiana At Orlando
When: 6:00 PM ET, Sunday, February 21, 2016
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Both teams come in off inspiring victories as the Indiana Pacers visit the Orlando Magic on Sunday in a battle of Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls. Orlando won for the third time in four games after rallying to beat Dallas in overtime Friday while the Pacers were coming from behind to beat red-hot Oklahoma City the same night.
“Hopefully, this is a springboard victory,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel told reporters after his team also improved to 3-1 in its last four. “This is what we talked about before the game, an opportunity to get the best win of the year and to have a momentum-building victory to start the final 29 games.” Paul George is averaging 25.2 points his last five outings for the Pacers, who attempt to extend their winning streak against the Magic to seven games. Orlando trailed by nine entering the fourth quarter before holding Dallas to 23 points over the final 17 minutes to win 110-104 last time out. Newcomers Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova combined for 34 points in their debuts for the Magic, who are 4 1/2 games behind sixth-place Indiana in the East and 3 ½ out of a playoff spot.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, FSN Indiana, FSN Florida (Orlando)
ABOUT THE PACERS (29-25): Monta Ellis led the way with 27 points against Oklahoma City, which led Indiana by seven with just under four minutes to play. Ellis is second on the team in scoring (14.1) and hands out a team-high 4.8 assists while George (23.3 points, 7.1 rebounds) has done it all, especially during his recent surge when he boasts 17 makes from 3-point range in five games. Rookie Myles Turner has gotten his average up to 10.1 points for the season after scoring 13.6 per contests the last five.
ABOUT THE MAGIC (24-29): Ilyasova scored 16 points before fouling out and Jennings ran the show in overtime, finishing with 18 points and four assists (two in OT). “He did a great job for us,” Orlando guard Victor Oladipo told reporters of Jennings. “He came in and made big shots and made big plays for us down the stretch, and we’re going to need him to continue to do that for us.” Oladipo finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds against Dallas and is scoring 14.4 per contest overall – second on the team behind Nikola Vucevic (17.1).
1. Vucevic has scored at least 20 points in four consecutive contests and boasts three straight double-doubles.
2. Indiana SF C.J. Miles, who is averaging 11.9 points, missed the last game with a stomach virus and is questionable for Orlando.
3. Magic F Aaron Gordon is averaging 12 rebounds over the past four games and had six steals against Dallas.
PREDICTION: Magic 102, Pacers 96