Defense may have been optional for much of the night, but it worked in the favor of the Indiana Pacers, who had a season best shooting night, topping the Orlando Magic for their first road win in over a month. The Pacers shot 59.3% for the game, a percentage that the Pacers sustained throughout the night, as the game started in a frenzied pitch.
The Magic forced the Pacers to keep pace early, with Terrence Ross quickly hitting three threes as part of a team high 29. Ross hit six of Orlando’s 14 three pointers, a shot that continually kept the Magic alive even into the late stages of the game. The Pacers led 39-38 after one, but it was the middle two quarters that put the Pacers inot a more comfortable position, outscoring Orlando 60-44.
Indiana’s offense was at a season best not only shooting, but in moving the ball, with the Pacers coming up with a season high 35 assists. Jeff Teague led the way with 13 assists to five Pacers, including five to Myles Turner, who had his best game in some time, a 23 point, 10 rebound double double on 10-13 shooting, including 2-2 outside of the paint.
Paul George continued his own blistering play by scoring 37 points with seven rebounds and six assists. George scored 22 points in the first quarter, hitting five threes on the night. George’s level of play has been on another level from much of the season as Pat Boylan noted on Twitter that five of George’s 13 career 37-point games have come in the past 24 days.
In addition, George’s post-game comments were interesting in just how confident he was in the direction of the team. George said, “We know who we are now,” which is a complete 180 from much of the season when George has openly said that this team has lacked identity issues. Some of that may no doubt be due to the addition of Lance Stephenson, who scored eight points tonight, hitting back-to-back threes to close the third.
As a whole, the bench effort was positive, outscoring Orlando’s second unit 37-25, including double figure nights from C.J. Miles and Kevin Seraphin, scoring 11 apiece. Even Lavoy Allen got in the action, scoring seven points in just five minutes of action, pulling in four rebounds as Indiana controlled the boards 45-33.
The Pacers have now won three straight games to move back to .500 with two remaining. They also caught a big break with Chicago falling on the road to Brooklyn, putting Indiana alone in seventh place. The Pacers await the results of a close game between Miami and Washington to see if they can get more good news, but in the meantime, they still have business that needs taken care of, with their final road of the season in Philadelphia against the 76ers on Monday.