In an attempt to put forth an even worse performance than their loss on Monday, the Indiana Pacers found themselves down by 18 in the third quarter against the Orlando Magic, their listless showing setting them up for an Orange County sweep. Getting a slight 6-3 run to close out the quarter proved just enough, however, as Indiana then staged a furious comeback, eventually closing out the win in style in overtime.
A 2-0 lead would be the only advantage the Pacers had until their fourth quarter comeback, and unlike Monday, it spiraled quickly. Mo Bamba hit a pair of threes and Wendell Carter Jr. put in two big time dunks to instantly balloon Orlando lead out to double figures midway through the first, an advantage that would largely hold with a 31-22 score after one.
Orlando extended their lead to 13 midway through the second when the lackluster Pacers offense started to show some signs of life. Back-to-back fast breaks from Tyrese Haliburton cut the lead to six, but even with Isaiah Jackson converting on the next three possessions and Buddy Hield completed his own breakaway dunk, the inability to put together a stop meant all of their success offensively drew them to within four.
Malcolm Brogdon cut the lead to two with the half winding down, but five straight from the Magic extended it back out to seven. Brogdon’s offensive rebound fed Oshae Brissett to end the half on a positive note, however, hitting a corner three to minimize the damage at 62-58 Orlando.
Franz Wagner lifted the Magic to open the third quarter, scoring 12 in the opening five minutes to suddenly make it a 15-point Orlando lead. At that point, it was all Indiana could do to just keep it from getting to 20. The Pacers trailed on four separate occasions by 18, the latest at 88-70 with 2:30 remaining when they gave themselves some breathing room with the 6-3 run entering the fourth.
Orlando’s defense pressured the Pacers’ shooters all night, forcing misses when they weren’t forcing turnovers. Neither team inspired much confidence in terms of ball control, but where the Pacers were at a real disadvantage was in their three point shooting. Through three quarters, they were a dreadful 4-22, including 0-7 in the third quarter.
Water finally found its level when Hield cut the lead to 12 early in the fourth, followed up by a Duane Washington Jr. three point play and Brogdon three to make it a six-point game. Terrence Ross threatened to halt the comeback with a pair of threes, but the impressive veteran play of Brogdon and Hield kept slicing into the lead, Hield’s second triple of the quarter making it a two-point with a touch under seven minutes remaining.
Two more threes, courtesy of Brogdon and Tyrese Haliburton finally broke the Pacers through at 101-99 for their first lead since the game’s opening basket.
The Magic responded with a 7-2 run to regain the lead when Brogdon and Haliburton again regained the lead. Brogdon led the charge in the fourth, but a wild miss on a layup and a split trip at the free throw line kept the game at two, just enough for Bamba to tip in the game-tying points, sending the game to overtime at 110-110.
Jalen Suggs would give Orlando the first points of overtime, but the Pacers continued to play at a higher level. Haliburton blocked Cole Anthony, setting up a fast break opportunity, a beautiful bounce pass from Brogdon finding Haliburton for game tying dunk.
Back-to-back threes from Hield and Haliburton (the latter set up by a big time offensive rebound from Brissett) sunk the dagger into the Magic as the Pacers closed out the tough overtime victory.
It was a tough go for the Pacers for three quarters when Brogdon pulled them from the fire with his play to close out the game. When Brogdon entered the game with 1:34 remaining in the third, the Pacers proceeded to outscore Orlando 48-25 the rest of the way. He scored 18 of his game high 31 in that stretch, dishing four of his eight assists as well.
Brogdon’s play to end the game was a necessity for the Pacers in closing out the game. To that point, they had no real go-to on the offensive end. Orlando’s defense had done a successful job putting the clamps on Indiana, forcing them into 17 turnovers for 20 points through three quarters.
Afterwards, the Pacers had just one miscue the rest of the way, Jackson’s sixth foul early in the overtime period. To that point, Jackson was the most reliable points of the night for Indiana, which isn’t exactly a great sign considering he was again hampered by foul trouble throughout the game.
Even still, he managed to put in 16 points and seven rebounds on a perfect 8-8 shooting in 23 minutes. That set up a lot of time for Jalen Smith following Goga Bitadze’s continued struggles, as the young forward worked his way to 15 points and 15 rebounds, leading the bench in both categories.
The Indiana defense would shockingly come into play in a positive way, forcing Orlando into six turnovers in the fourth quarter and overtime, featuring a pair of shot clock violations and three blocks in overtime. That allowed Indiana to finish off the night in the positive, scoring 25 points off of those Magic miscues on the night.
Haliburton led the charge with three steals himself, scoring 12 of his 21 in the final 17 minutes. To that point, he and Hield were an unwieldy struggle, combining for nine turnovers and 5-19 shooting, including 1-11 from deep. They both came up big late, however, with Hield scoring 11 of his 17 down the stretch, the duo combining for six three pointers.
Brissett had just six points on the night, but his lone three pointer and his big offensive rebound to set up the Haliburton dagger allowed him to make a big impact despite his struggles shooting. Washington was well had his own struggles, shooting 1-9, but his lone conversion led to a key three point play to go with his two steals. Terry Taylor had six points and three rebounds while Lance Stephenson put in seven.
The Pacers are in the midst of a rather unique stretch for a team so low in the standings, playing four of five against teams below them record wise. Their win against Boston included, Indiana improves to 2-2 in these games, with a chance at a winning record when they travel to face the Detroit Pistons on Friday.