ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – In a game where the Indiana Pacers desperately needed a victory, Paul George carried them to a 127-112 victory over the Orlando Magic. George scored 37 points and grabbed six rebounds and six assists as the Pacers kept their Eastern Conference playoff hopes alive. Indiana’s record is now 40-40 with two games left to play in the regular season.
“We said that if we get this next win in Philly, we clinch. That’s our objective, that’s our goal right now. At this point we’re not really worried about what everyone else outside of us is doing. Again, we’ve got to get this win in Philly and lock up a spot.”- Paul George on the Pacers’ playoff spot at the current moment
The game started off with both teams going up and down scoring at will against one another. Indiana did their damage in the paint as they scored 22 of their 39 points from inside the painted square. George had 10 points and Thaddeus Young had eight in the opening quarter. For the Magic, their damage came from the three-point line. Orlando went six for seven from downtown led by Terrance Ross, who went a perfect three for three from deep. Orlando was down by one after the first twelve minutes.
The second quarter is when the game got out of control for the Magic. Even though they were outscored by eight points, they hit 38.1% of their shots and couldn’t contain the Pacers as they shot 59% in the quarter and finished shooting 61% in the first half.
Orlando got as close as 84-80 after Aaron Gordon’s turnaround jumpshot with 3:49 left in the third quarter, but Indiana finished the quarter on a 15-2 run capped off by a Lance Stephenson buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 99-82 lead.
Orlando was led by Ross, who scored 29 points in the game. He finished with six successful 3-point shots and did his best to the keep the Magic close on the scoreboard. Evan Fournier returned to the lineup and scored 23 points for Orlando.
“Terrance has been great since the day he has stepped a foot in this building on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he has really been carrying the load for us. He is capable of getting hot, like we saw tonight. He is very versatile on the offensive end. He’s a shooter that can make plays off the bounce, you can also use him in the pick and rolls, screens, and he attacks in the open court and he can finish. It was a great pickup for us mid-season. He was great tonight.” – Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel on Terrance Ross
Orlando plays the second half of their back to back tomorrow against the Chicago Bulls which, like Indiana, is fighting for their playoff lives as well. The Bulls are coming off a disappointing 107-106 loss on Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets, which the Magic defeated on Thursday night. Orlando ends its 2016-2017 season Wednesday night when they take on the Detroit Pistons at 8 p.m. at Amway Center.
Points of Interest:
- Jeff Teague had 13 assists and only two turnovers
- Orlando was outscored 64-38 in the Paint
- Miles Turner’s 10 rebounds led the Pacers as they rebounded the Magic 45-33
- Elfrid Payton’s 10 assists game was his fourth in the last five games for the Magic
Danny Thompson is a contributing sports reporter for Florida National News. firstname.lastname@example.org