Magic Defeat Pacers 126-120. Continue Strong Play

ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Magic battled the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night at the Amway Center.

Orlando, Florida, USA, January 25, 2023, Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith #23 attempt to make a pass block is fouled by Magic players at the Amway Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

The Magic are coming off of an impressive 123-113 win over the league-best Celtics in high fashion as Forward Jonathan Isaacs returned to the court after an absence of over 2 years.

Orlando hit the floor with the same energy again tonight, jumping out to a 46-29 lead in the first quarter, leading by as much as 17 in the period against the Pacers.

Paolo Banchero scored 15 points in the first quarter, and the Magic had a field goal percentage of 80% at one point in the first quarter.

The Pacers settled down and intensified their defense on the second quarter, and worked to get the lead down to as few as two points in the second quarter. The Pacers outscored the Magic 39-27 to dig their way back into the game, ending the first half with a 73-68 score, only five points down to Orlando.

In the second half, Orlando was on the push again, outscoring Indiana 29-24 in the third. Paolo Banchero built his points up to 21 and Gary Harris continuing to shoot fire from deep, eventually going six for six from 3-point range, part of scoring 22 points for the Magic, his season high.

Indiana’s rookie Benedict Mathurin proved his worth as the sixth pick of the 2022 draft. Mathurin  continued to hassle the Magic on both ends of the court, finally scoring 26 points to lead the Pacers and going 10 for 12 from the free throw line.

Outside of Mathurin, the Pacers bench did very little, only manage single digits in scoring.

Orlando finished the game with 56% shooting over Indiana’s 48%, and the Magic continued to get points and plays when they needed them.

The player combinations were intimidating. Orlando’s big are getting stronger and are all over the lineup. Banchero, Carter Jr, Bol, Isaac, and Bamba. Plus Fultz, a big guard, Franz Wagner (6’9″), Mo Wagner (even bigger), all are causing problems.

Orlando, Florida, USA, January 25, 2023, IOrlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero #5 attempt to make a basket in the first half at the Amway Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

The starting lineup is F Wagner, Paolo, Wendell, Harris, and Fultz. At one point in the game, Mo Bama (7″1′) was out there with Bol Bol (7″2′), Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner, and Jalen Suggs. 

Another point in the game had Carter, Isaac, Fultz, Franz Wagner, and Fultz.

Magic Head Coach Mosely has a lot of toys to play with as the injury list is almost empty, save for Chuma Okeke who is recovering from right knee surgery.

Isaac is having an impact, even in limited minutes. His quick scrappy defensive style garnered him another steal tonight as he went 2 for 4 in his shooting, hitting a three and a two point score. Isaac had two steals tonight two assists to go tis his 5 points, and it’s only his second game back.

Mosley is continuing to preach his “Doing it by committee” tactic.

“I thought it was great. I thought they did a great job trying to share the basketball. We might have overshared it a few times having seven turnovers for 26 points, but they’re ability to try to find the pass. That’s big for our guys.

Orlando travels down the Florida Turnpike to face the Miami Heat on Friday in Miami, then returns to the Amway to host the Chicago Bulls.

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