The Indiana Pacers continue to find ways to win, tonight staging a second half comeback against the Orlando Magic to move to 6-1 in their last seven games. The Pacers fell victim to scorching shooting from the Magic in the first half, allowing 60 points and 8-13 shooting from three point range.
Indiana shot well in the first half, but keeping pace was a completely different story. The Pacers trailed 60-47 with just over two minutes in the half. They did hold the Magic scoreless to end the half, a slight momentum shift they were able to carry over into the third quarter when they outscored the Magic 16-0 to finally take the lead.
Back-to-back threes from Orlando helped them jump back on top, eventually building a 76-71 lead with just 2:46 left in the half. At that point, T.J. McConnell shifted the game back in Indiana’s favor, assisting on two straight threes and and scoring four more to close the third on a 10-1 run, including this beautiful two-screen play that led to a corner three from Doug McDermott.
This set was tremendous: pic.twitter.com/82T83yGaQq— Tony East (@TEastNBA) November 11, 2019
McConnell continued his exceptional play into the fourth quarter, scoring or assisting on 14 of Indiana’s first 18 in the fourth, pushing the Pacers to a 99-85 lead with five to go. At that point, the Pacers had outscored the Magic 48-25 in the second half, Orlando’s shooting coming crashing down after their hot first half.
The Magic would find some offense to close the game, bringing the game to within six with 41 seconds remaining. A nifty back-and-forth between Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis would set up the dagger, extending Indiana’s win streak to three games.
C MEBACK ST PPER— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) November 11, 2019
Malcolm is COLD ❄️ pic.twitter.com/VMQ5xpxhRu
Once again, the play of the bench helped prove the difference in the win. Not only was McConnell executing his midrange jumper whenever he wanted, but McDermott continues to find success in rhythm, scoring 18 points with six rebounds. Two of those came on the offensive glass, joining both T.J. Leaf and Alize Johnson with two apiece.
Though they were only able to get two points on those offensive rebounds, the effort alone was a positive and the Pacers as a team were able to score 15 second chance points off of 11 offensive rebounds, including three three pointers. Two of those threes were to Aaron Holiday, who had 11 points, hitting three triples in the first half when Indiana was trying to just keep pace.
Sabonis led the way with the Pacers with 21 points and 16 rebounds, again dishing out seven assists. He found four different players on the passes, including all three of Holiday’s first half threes. Three more went to Brogdon and T.J. Warren, each scoring 19 points in the win. Brogdon was on point early with his shooting, but had to come back into his shooting late with the dagger three. Warren meanwhile shot 9-15, almost automatic from the free throw line extended with his floater.
The win also featured its own oddity in setting the NBA record for fewest free throws attempted in a game with 11. Less than a week after getting outshot 42-7 against Charlotte at the line, tonight, the Pacers were outshot 6-5, getting the lone attempt in the first half. While the whistles weren’t coming for the Pacers, they didn’t compound that problem by picking up fouls themselves, committing a season low 13.
The Pacers at 6-4 have weathered their injuries and slow start to the season about as well as possible, taking full advantage of their schedule of late to pick up a pair of three game winning streaks. The Pacers will play their first game out of conference on Tuesday, when they return home to face Chris Paul and the new-look Oklahoma City Thunder.