The self-inflicted wounds of the Indiana Pacers gave the Orlando Magic life through the first 41 minutes of action. The Magic used an 8-0 run to grab an 81-78 lead with 7:28 remaining in the fourth, having scored 34 points off of Indiana turnovers, getting an out-of-body experience from Channing Frye, and doing everything right to give themselves a chance to win late against the Pacers.
But the Pacers tightened up defensively and began to force turnovers of their own, closing the game on a 19-3 run, including 14 straight to close out a 97-84 victory. In the run, the Pacers forced six Orlando turnovers, holding them scoreless for nearly six minutes. The Pacers hit three of their 11 three pointers in the run, the dagger coming from George Hill, who sunk in his fourth of the night, responding to an Evan Fournier three that was Orlando's last gasp.
Hill closed the game strong for Indiana, scoring their final five of the night as part of his 23 overall. Hill went 4-6 from three, bouncing back after blanking in yesterday's loss to Cleveland. Hill had 11 in the second quarter with three threes coming in that quarter, which was a big boost for the Pacers after a first quarter dominated by Paul George.
George began the game on a tear, scoring 19 points in the first quarter, getting just six points of support from his teammates in that quarter. George's scoring fell off for the remainder of the game, but he also struggled with his passing in the third quarter. While he finished up with seven assists, he also had six turnovers, miscalculating where his teammates would be or simply dishing out bad passes.
George finished with a team high 27, but really didn't look to score much after that initial quarter. It ended up not mattering in the end thanks to the play of Hill especially, but with Monta Ellis struggling (two points on 1-9 shooting) and Rodney Stuckey reaggravating his ankle injury, the lack of scoring punch from George late could've become a much bigger issue than it ended up becoming.
Part of that was thanks to Hill, but both Myles Turner and Chase Budinger provided big lifts off the bench. Turner was 4-6 with 10 points, showcasing that patented turnaround jumper where Budinger not only did the little things in his time on the floor, but actually found some offense with a pair of threes. C.J. Miles helped with a pair of threes of his own, helping the Indiana total to 11 on the night.
After a tough close in their loss to Cleveland, it was nice to see Indiana rebound with a strong finish against an up and coming, but still green Magic team. The Pacers have generally fared well against teams in their "weight class" to so to speak, and will have a chance to move above .500 for the first time on Wednesday when they travel to New England to face the Boston Celtics.