Magic Musings: Orlando finishes off season with home loss to Indiana
ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Magic ended their season the same way it began in late October, with a loss to the Indiana Pacers.
Although the Pacers rested three of their regular starters with the playoffs starting this weekend, they had more than enough firepower to post a 101-86 victory over the Magic, who again saw several of their reserves play more than usual.
In addition to Nikola Vucevic (sore Achilles tendon) and Jameer Nelson (strained left groin) not being in uniform, Arron Afflalo played only the first quarter while Victor Oladipo sat out the final quarter after having just four points in 18 minutes. Doron Lamb played a season-high 40 minutes in Afflalo’s absence but hit only four of his 12 field-goal attempts, while Andrew Nicholson had 10 points and four rebounds in 33 minutes.
The Magic finished with the fifth-worst record in the franchise’s 25-year history at 23-59. Only the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers will have better odds than them of winning the NBA draft lottery held for teams which failed to reach the postseason.
"I really believe in not only the physical part of this game but the mental part," coach Jacque Vaughn said. "And part of that growth is really being able to challenge our guys, and I think we were able to do that this year and find out a lot about them. What I will say is we’ve got a resilient bunch."
"It’s crazy to see how fast the year went," said Oladipo, who played 80 of a possible 82 games and averaged 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists. "You can never take any day for granted."
Rookie Dewayne Dedmon had a career-high 13 rebounds in his sixth consecutive start for Vucevic, but the Pacers wound up with a 52-40 advantage in that category. The Magic were 0-39 in games where they were outrebounded.
"In the third year, you don’t want to be a loser again," forward Kyle O’Quinn said. "I’m not saying we’re losers. We made strides. But we’ve still got to be up there with the Indiana Pacers and the (Miami) Heat, teams like that. That’s what you want to be like, and we’re a long way from that."
Coach Frank Vogel gave Paul George, David West and Lance Stephenson the night off. The Pacers, who will face the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, went only 10-13 since March 4 but were able to finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference at 56-26.
THE TURNING POINT
With a lineup which included none of their usual starters, the Pacers began the third quarter by outscoring the Magic 18-8 to build an 18-point lead.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Evan Turner, in only his second start for the Pacers since being acquired Feb. 20 from Philadelphia, finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes.
STAT OF THE GAME
Oladipo made one steal to finish his rookie season with 129, the most by any Magic player since Darrell Armstrong had 135 in 2002-03.
The NBA draft lottery May 20.