The Orlando Magic landed the first blow against the Indiana Pacers, hitting eight their first 12 shots and storming out to a 28-20 lead late in the first quarter. But six points to end the first by Rodney Stuckey cut the lead to two as the Pacers ran off 18 straight points to take a 38-28 lead. The Magic would cut the lead to five in the second quarter, but with how the Pacers shot the ball, the Magic had a tall order in keeping pace with Indiana, eventually letting up a rout as the Pacers won 118-86.
The Pacers exploded in the first half for 59 points, led by Stuckey, who shot 9-10 in the first half, including 5-6 from three point range for 25 points. Stuckey finished with a season high 34 points on the night, ending up 13-19 from the field, hitting a second half three pointer. Stuckey was unconscious in the first half with his shot making, but also looked to make plays with passing, dishing seven assists to go with six rebounds.
Stuckey's seven assists was a team high, but Indiana as a team had fantastic ball movement and great shot making abilities tonight. On their 45 field goals, they assisted on 37 of them. The result of the ball movement was a franchise tying 17 three point field goals, including not only six from Stuckey, but five from Damjan Rudez and three from C.J. Watson.
Rudez was put into the starting role tonight with C.J. Miles as a late scratch, ending up leading the starters in scoring with 17 points. Rudez also had five assists, which went nicely with six apiece from George Hill and Solomon Hill. G. Hill was the only other starter in double figures with 13 points and Solo scored nine on 4-11 shooting, getting a couple of big plays at the rim.
That left the heavy lifting up to the bench unit, which demolished Orlando's second and third units, outscoring the Magic 73-18. Three Pacers reached double figures off the bench, including a 15 point, 10 rebound double double from Luis Scola. Scola was 6-8 on the night, but was also a big part in making some key 50/50 plays thorughout the game. Ian Mahinmi also had a double figure rebounding night with 10 to go alongside six points.
Watson also found some good fortune behind the arc, hitting three as part of his 12 point, five assist night. Orlando was willing to give Indiana looks from behind the arc and the strategy paid off in Indiana's favor tonight as the Pacers were 17-34, while only scoring 30 points in the paint. For a sixth straight game, Indiana's defense was a key in their success, holding an opponent under 90 points and 40% shooting.
Indiana's run of wins continues, with them winning their sixth straight, improving them to 9-1 in their last 10 and 12-2 in their last 14. The Pacers are within five games of .500, giving them not only a half game cushion in seventh place, but draws them to within four games of the Milwaukee Bucks for sixth place, who happen to be Indiana's next game on Thursday night.