Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon log double-doubles, but Magic fall to Pacers for 8th straight time
They also overcame a bout with food poisoning that kept top reserve Domantas Sabonis out of the game and affected several players and coach Nate McMillan. None of it showed as Indiana beat Orlando for the eight straight time and 15th time in the last 16 meetings.
“I feel pretty dizzy right now,” said McMillan, who looked uncomfortable before tipoff, but coached the entire way. “That was a solid game from start to finish against a very good team.”
“I guess the guys who played must have ate at a different restaurant because we played with a lot of energy,” added Pacers reserve Kyle O’Quinn, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds against his former team.
Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 22 points and 10 rebounds and Aaron Gordon had 20 points and 14 rebounds. Terrence Ross added 11 for Orlando, which allowed Indiana to shoot 50 percent for most of the game before the Pacers reserves went dry in the final three minutes and let the final percentage slip to 47.3 percent.
“At either end of the floor, it looked like our first six or seven games of the year,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said, referring to the team’s 2-6 start. “We were disorganized, bad shots, no pressure on the defense, never into the ball, bad basketball.”
The Pacers took control in the middle of the third quarter and were never challenged the final 16 minutes.
Indiana led by 12 at halftime, but Orlando rallied quickly in the second half, cutting it to 63-59 on Gordon’s dunk with 7:42 left in the third period. Indiana responded with a 15-2 run that Evans started with a driving layup and finished with a fallaway 3-pointer.
“I have to see that stretch again because it was a blur,” Gordon said about the Pacers fast runaway. “It’s a little frustrating, but it’s nothing to lose our minds over. I believe in this team. I believe we’re a good team. We have to stick with it.”
Indiana’s defense took away the perimeter game from a Magic team that had made 20 3-pointers the previous game against Denver. The Magic were eight for 33 (24.2 percent) on 3-pointers against the Pacers.
Bogdanovic hit 9 of 13 shots and had 21 points in the first half when the Pacers patiently ran through options to find open shots on the perimeter, a tactic they kept working the entire game.
The Magic survived a scare in the first quarter when Vucevic stayed on the floor clutching his ankle after coming down on Turner’s foot. The Magic center limped over to the bench and took a seat, but was back in for the final 7:21 of the second period.
PACERS: SG Victor Oladipo‘s sore knee kept him out for the ninth straight game. … Indiana is 8-6 on the road this season, one of only two Eastern Conference teams with winning road records.
MAGIC: Ross has scored in double figures in eight straight games, averaging 17.4 points while shooting 51.4 percent (52 of 101). … Vucevic has double-doubles in six of his last seven games, averaging 24.4 points and 12.2 rebounds during that stretch. … David Steele, who has been broadcasting Magic games for all 30 seasons in franchise history, will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame
Pacers: Host Sacramento on Saturday night.
Magic: At Dallas on Monday night.
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