The Indiana Pacers had little trouble picking up their first road win of the new year last time out. A matchup with the Orlando Magic wouldn’t appear to give them too much of a challenge either.
The Pacers will try to keep rolling Wednesday night when they visit the Magic, losers in 11 of 12 and a season-high six in a row at home.
Indiana (24-15) has won 14 of 18 but had also dropped three straight on the road before delivering a 103-76 thumping of lowly Charlotte on Tuesday. The Pacers, who hadn’t won away from Indiana since Dec. 22, held the Bobcats to 34.7 percent shooting and Roy Hibbert led a group of four players in double figures with 18 points.
It was the eighth time this season that Indiana has allowed fewer than 80 points and it’s giving up only 88.9 per game. That’s helped the Pacers compensate for an offense that’s averaging just 91.3.
“Our defense is a beast. We’re leading in a number of different defensive categories. We have great length and these guys are committed to trying to be the best defense in the NBA,” coach Frank Vogel said. “(Our offense) can get clicking and we can get really hot at times and when it does, like tonight, look at what happened.
“We are trying to commit to the running game more. We got 19 fast-break points in the first half. Big difference in the game. We’re playing good basketball.”
The Magic (13-24), meanwhile, have not been playing good basketball.
Most of their troubles have come on the defensive end as they’re allowing an average of 113.6 points over their last five games.
The return of Glen Davis from a sprained left shoulder was not enough to help break Orlando out of its funk Monday as it was routed 120-91 by a Washington team that owns the NBA’s worst record. Davis had 13 points off the bench while ending an 11-game absence and Jameer Nelson had a team-best 19 points despite missing 11 of 17 shots.
“The good thing about the NBA is we can hopefully put this game behind us pretty quickly, go home, get some rest and look forward to playing Indiana,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “It’s just some nights you’re not going to have it. Luckily, we have a good group, and we’re looking forward to playing Indiana.”
The Magic won three of four over Indiana last season but won’t have the top two scorers from those games (Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson). Orlando has prevailed in 14 of 17 matchups and seven of eight at home.
Indiana, though, earned its lone win in Orlando over that stretch on Jan. 29 as the currently injured Danny Granger’s 24 points led the way in a 106-85 rout. David West and George Hill added 16 apiece, and the Pacers shot 51.1 percent.
Indiana will next try to hand the Magic a seventh consecutive home loss for the first time since the end of the 2003-04 season.