ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic are at the beginning of a grand makeover, and things looked rough out there as they lost 111-106 to the Indiana Pacers. Indiana, also battling injuries, were more organized than Orlando, and took advantage of Orlando defensive missteps to take home the win.
The Magic spent a good portion of the night trying to fit new players into their rotation, including Gary Harris, who just came back from an injury. On top of that, they are dealing with the loss of players that have been around for years, more recently, the release of Khem Birch this week.
Michael Carter-Williams, James Ennis, Dwayne Bacon, Wendell Carter Jr, and Chuma Okeke opened the game for the Magoc. Okeke is no longer a an unknown components in the NBA, and Indiana rendered him pretty much ineffective on offense for most of the first half, but made contributions outside of scoring with ball movement, rebounds, and assists. Chuma finished the game with 8 points and a respectable 7 assists.
Terrance Ross led all scorers with 24 points, including tow emphatic slam dunks in the fourth quarter, electrifying the limited crowd and keeping the Magic in the game.
Aaron Holiday lit up the Magic for 20 points for the Pacers, who now move on to a 23-27 record.
Both of Orlando’s centers left the game. Mo Bamba left the game in the third quarter, after going down on the deck on a defensive play and holding on to his hip as he limped into the locker room, grimacing in pain. Bamba later said that he had to go the the bathroom and “poop”, but did say a nagging injury aggravated him. Bamba later re-entered the game and finished it with 14 points and 6 rebounds.
Bamba showed more aggressiveness and confidence with more time on the floor. You can actually see his growth the more he’s on the floor.
Wendell Carter Jr also went into the locker room followed by team trainers. There was no evidence of injury, and he returned not too long after and re-entered the game, and finished with 9 points for the Magic.
The Magic were fierce on the inside, surrounding players in the paint, stoping inside shot attempts, and even shows a lot of improvement in 3-point shot coverage.
But, Indiana came thought with balanced scoring and by scorching the Magic from deep, with Aaron Holiday hitting 6-three point shots. The pacers leading scorers were Holiday, with 20 points, and Doug McDermott with 19, both off of the bench.
Orlando next faces the Milwaukee Bucks at the Amway Center on Sunday, followed by the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night for a back to back.