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Pacers final score: Pacers cruise past Magic 123-102

Indiana extends their winning streak to five games, beating Orlando at home to improve to 10-6 on the season. T.J. McConnell had 19 points and 10 assists in the win.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers completed their two-game sweep of the Orlando Magic in impressive fashion, securing their biggest win of the season in their fifth straight victory. The Pacers needed all 48 minutes to top the Magic on Saturday, but tonight proved a much different story, using a quicker start to weather their first quarter woes before opening things up in the second and third quarters.

The Pacers jumped out to a 9-1 lead tonight. While helpful, that advantage didn’t last long, as poor shooting and turnovers would allow Orlando to stage a rather quick comeback. Though Indiana assisted on eight of 11 field goals in the quarter, six alone from Tyrese Haliburton, his turnovers (three) along with some tough non-scoring decisions from Bennedict Mathurin forced Indiana into seven miscues, which didn’t go too well with their 1-11 three point shooting.

Though Mathurin came into the game and quickly scored six points, that wasn’t enough to keep the Magic in the rearview, giving them a 28-27 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Two more turnovers and missed threes to start the second set up Orlando with a 35-32 lead four minutes into the quarter.

Indiana scored the next five, regaining the lead. That would kickstart a 20-7 run that finally saw the Pacers connect on some three pointers (courtesy of T.J. McConnell and Oshae Brissett), setting them nicely heading into the half. After pushing their lead to 14 early in the third, Orlando pushed back into the game, trailing by just six when Haliburton halted the 8-0 Magic run with a drive to the basket.

That play proved much-needed for a languishing Pacers offense, this time going back up by double figures on a 16-6 run that featured more success from deep. McConnell continued to stay hot from deep, hitting two more threes in the quarter, putting Indiana up by 19 at the end of the third, allowing them a festival fourth quarter garbage run, Brissett scoring 12 to finish off the 21-point win.

One rather strange constant in their now five-game winning streak is that six Pacers have reached double figures in each of these games. Not once has the same six players repeated itself, however, a surprising showcase in Indiana’s versatility. McConnell became the 10th different Pacer to reach double figures tonight, scoring a season high 19 points with 10 assists.

McConnell has really struggled to start this season. He entered tonight shooting a career low 39.7%, over 10% off of his career average. That’s carried over to his three point shot as well, which while largely nonexistent, has at least featured some makes here and there. Not only have makes been absent, attempts as a whole have been as well, missing on just four attempts thus far.

So for McConnell to not only hit his first three of the season, but to pull Indiana out of a dreadful 1-14 shooting slump from deep was a nice development, finishing the game with a career tying three makes in four attempts. His 10 assists were also a season high, helping the Pacers to 32 assists on the game, leading the way with three steals.

By no real surprise, the assist leader tonight was Haliburton, fresh off being named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Though he sat the fourth quarter, it was still a big night for the starting point guard, dishing 14 assists with 18 points. He shot 7-12 overall, picking up his scoring at the moments when Indiana needed it. Unfortunately, he did lead the way with seven turnovers on another terrible night as a team with ball handling, committing 21 as a team.

Mathurin had just three turnovers, but it felt like a lot more. His scoring prowess was on point tonight, leading the team with 22 points, but anything that didn’t having scoring in mind proved to be an adventure. That scoring can’t be discounted however. He led the team with 10 free throw attempts, completing three separate three-point plays. Indiana as a team had seven and-one opportunities tonight, going 6-7 in that position.

Brissett had two such opportunities, also finishing with a season high in points, scoring 18. Brissett was an impressive 4-7 from three point range and 4-5 from the line. He hit three of those late in the fourth as the Magic twice cut the lead to 16, instantly extending the lead out, even finishing on a four point play for good measure.

Isaiah Jackson also had some fun late, scoring six points with four rebounds in the fourth to finish with 10 & 8. Jackson came up with three of his four offensive boards in the quarter, helping Indiana to 12 as Indiana absolutely dominated second chance points 24-9. Myles Turner also reached double figures with 10, blocking three shots in the process.

Getting both McConnell and Brissett to step up from three point range was a welcome sight with both Buddy Hield and Jalen Smith struggling. Hield shot just 1-10 from deep while Smith struggled at 0-4. Aaron Nesmith got the start tonight with Andrew Nembhard out, scoring nine with eight rebounds.

Indiana’s five-game winning streak is now the longest since January 2020, which is no small feat even given the opposition. It’s easy for a young team to get up for games against good teams, but to bring that same level of focus to games against teams that are now a combined 12-41 is worth taking note of.

They’ll begin to face a different level of team starting Wednesday, however, continuing their home stand with their first matchup of the year against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Orlando’s size gave the Pacers fits on Saturday, which could quickly spell trouble against a Minnesota team that have won four straight of their own.