How much fun did the Indiana Pacers have tonight?
It was a fun and exciting fourth quarter that brought out the air guitars and shoulder shrugs for the Pacers, wrapping up their home stand with a win over the Orlando Magic. The Pacers had their infectious energy and resolve on display in responding to an Orlando run that put the Magic on top 86-85 to start the fourth.
The Pacers had been running ahead of the Magic for much of the night, but Orlando wasn’t shy in taking shots from behind the arc, using 16 three pointers to help keep them within striking distance. The barrage of threes would eventually put Orlando on top with to a 16-3 run.
The response from the Pacers came in the form of a 9-0 run, a run featuring Lance Stephenson contributing to every bucket. Stephenson scored four in the run and assisted the other two baskets to Domantas Sabonis. Stephenson had four of his five assists and 11 of his 18 in the fourth quarter, once again feeding off the energy of the crowd to help push the Pacers over the top.
The response from Stephenson and the Pacers was huge not just because of the Magic run to close the third, but because the game began to slip away after Victor Oladipo went to the bench with his fourth foul in the third quarter. Oladipo returned to action after missing Saturday’s game with a knee injury, and pushed his hardest to put Indiana in a good position all night.
Oladipo finished 11-14 from the floor, but did so hitting his first 11 shots of the game. He would finish with 26 points, his final bucket coming on a plinko three that pushed the lead to seven at 98-91 after the Magic had responded well to Indiana’s 9-0 run in the fourth.
Oladipo was clearly frustrated at not being able to help his team in their loss against Boston that he decided then that he would play tonight and he again lit up his former team with a box score bonanza. Oladipo finished with 26 points, a game high, but also had six rebounds, five assists, four blocks, and two steals, finishing a +29, whereas only Sabonis also had a double figure +/- with +10.
Sabonis finished with 19 points off the bench, with eight points and five assists, three on the offensive glass. Sabonis was 5-7 from the floor, leading the charge at the line at 8-9. The Sabonis/Turner dynamic has become a fascinating one as the season has progressed and both of their skill sets were on display tonight.
Sabonis hit a three tonight, but did a bulk of his work at the rim while Myles Turner scored his 18 from a variety of places. Turner hit three (rather deep) threes on the night and had a pair of blocks, but while he was active and energetic tonight, he still struggled at the rim against the Orlando bigs with Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo each blocking Turner at the basket.
Being met at the rim is one thing, but Turner still has a lot of different ways he can score, which works to the advantage of the Pacers. It will be important for him to continue showing interest in playing down low on both sides to help maximize that versatility.
Bojan Bogdanovic continues his stellar scoring streak with his third 20-point game in his last five, scoring 22 points on 7-13 shooting. He hit a pair of threes, but also attacked the rim himself, leading to a 6-7 night from the free throw line. All eight Pacers players scored tonight and seven hit a three pointer, with Cory Joseph scoring nine on 3-5 from deep.
The only player to not hit a three was Thaddeus Young. Young struggled shooting from everywhere tonight at just 1-9, but per usual, had a big impact on the game in other areas, coming up with five rebounds and five assists, picking up a pair of steals. Those steals helped in a sizeable points off turnover advantage, the Pacers winning 27-14.
That advantage was key because the Pacers actually lost the turnover battle, committing 16 on the night. Five of those came from Oladipo, with errant passes causing issues for Indiana for what seemed like the entire night. Their ability to stop the Magic from capitalizing on those turnovers was big in terms of keeping Orlando at bay throughout the night.
Indiana wraps up their home stand 2-1, moving to 12-9 on the season. They’ll be tasked with a pair of very difficult road games starting when they face the Houston Rockets in Houston. The Rockets had little issue dispatching of the Pacers in Indianapolis, putting the Pacers in a difficult position for Wednesday’s showdown.