It's close again, but Magic unable to get by Pacers

BY foxsports • February 21, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers overcame their own mistakes and missed shots to get another big win.

Monta Ellis scored 21 points and Paul George added 20 to help the Pacers beat the Orlando Magic 105-102 on Sunday night for their fourth win in five games.

Indiana had 17 of its 21 turnovers in the first half, shot just 9 for 25 in the fourth quarter, and put the Magic in the bonus free throw situation for the final 10 minutes of the game.

Still, the Pacers found a way to hold on for the win, getting 10 points from Ellis in the fourth quarter, 15 from George in the second half, and playing excellent defense in the final seconds.

"What I love about this team and the way we're playing now is I really trust our defense," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "We were getting stops and giving ourselves a chance to win. These guys rose to the challenge."

CJ Miles and Ian Mahinmi had 14 points apiece for the Pacers and Jordan Hill added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

"We knew what kind of game we were getting ourselves into," Ellis said. "We knew they'd come out aggressive, but that's why there are two halves. We got the turnovers under control in the second half that is why we won."

Evan Fournier led Orlando with 23 points. Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 13 rebounds and Victor Oladipo had 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

The Magic, who have played a league-high 14 games decided by three points or fewer this season, are just 5-9 in the close games.

Aaron Gordon, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds, scored on a breakaway dunk with 43.8 seconds to play to pull Orlando to 103-101. The Magic got a defensive stop and Vucevic was fouled going to the basket. He made just one free throw with 30 seconds to play to cut the deficit to one.

The Magic were nine of 15 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

Orlando forced another miss from Ellis and called timeout with 10 seconds to play to set up a potential game-winning shot, but never got organized once play resumed. The ball ended up in Oladipo's hands and with 3 seconds to play, he tried to duck under Ellis and make a 3-pointer.

It wasn't close. Myles Turner rebounded for Indiana and made two free throws with less than a second remaining for the final margin.

"They were ripe to be beaten and we couldn't take advantage," Magic coach Scott Skiles said. "We just didn't play a really professional game, beginning to end.

"We had a chance to win, but that was almost like a miracle. We missed layups, free throws, had a ton of busted defensive coverages, turnovers ... not a professional performance."

The game was close, though not well played throughout. Neither team led by more than eight points at any time.

The Pacers shot 55.9 percent in the first half and got nine points apiece from reserves CJ Miles and Jordan Hill to overcome poor ballhandling.

The teams were tied 47-all at the break, and Indiana led 80-79 after three quarters.


Pacers: PF Turner has averaged 13.1 points 7.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game since being inserted in starting lineup 10 games ago. ... Indiana is 8-1 in games this season when Ellis leads the team in scoring. ... Pacers reserves contributed 30 points and 12 rebounds after having only eight points and 11 rebounds in the last game.

Magic: Orlando has played 10 straight games against teams with a winning record, going 4-6 in that stretch. ... Orlando has lost 11 of its last 12 against Indiana. ... Magic team president Alex Martins said the team will make bids to host the All-Star game in either 2019 or 2020. ... C Vucevic is averaging 22.8 points and 12.8 rebounds in his last four games.


Pacers: At Miami on Monday.

Magic: At Philadelphia on Tuesday.