ORLANDO, Fla. —The Orlando Magic can finally set their eyes on the NBA playoffs.
Knowing their postseason fate for some time, they concluded the regular season with a 92-74 win over the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night at the Amway Center.
The victory was a good way for the Magic (52-30) to finish up the slate. Although it was not pretty basketball, it didn’t need to be.
Forget that Orlando turned the ball over a season-high 28 times. This game was about resting the starters and getting set for Saturday’s match up versus the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks.
“I thought that our energy was very, very good…especially in the first half, I thought we were playing at a real high energy level, which I liked,” said Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy.
The Magic led 53-29 at the half and did a great job of keeping Indiana’s (37-45) offense off balance for the entire game. The Pacers shot 24 percent (6-of-24) in the first quarter and followed that up with 26 percent (5-of-19) in the second period.
Following a great stretch, which saw Orlando go on a 15-0 run in the first quarter, it seemed like both franchises went through the motions. Hedo Turkoglu, Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson contributed well on the offensive side by shooting better than 50 percent from the floor.
“I thought we executed some things really well and I thought we really tried to defend,” Van Gundy added.
Ignoring the 28 turnovers that led to 27 Pacers points, the Magic bench got significant playing time in a game that was insignificant in the win-loss column. Quentin Richardson, who returned from his two-game suspension, scored seven points with three assists and eight rebounds. Anderson added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Even with some of the noticeable mistakes Orlando made on the court, Van Gundy said it was not bad for a game like this.
Had this been the performance earlier in the year there is no doubt his attitude would be different.
Dwight Howard, whose playing time was cut drastically to 26 minutes, said the Magic is ready to go for the “real season.”
The Magic converted close to 44 percent from the field and although they took an awful lot of shots from behind the three-point line (26), they made eight for 30.8 percent.
Now, it is time to look forward the NBA postseason.