Magic Dominate Pacers 118-98

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The Orlando Magic got off to an incredible start, taking a 42-18 at the end of the first quarter. They then suffered from their usual lax play after getting a big lead by letting the Bobcats get back with nine before blowing the game back open in the second half earning a 118-98 victory. Vince Carter led a balanced attack (seven players scored in double figures) with 21 points. Rookie A.J. Price led the Pacers with 19 points off of the bench.

NBA Stats

NBA Stats

NBA Stats

Orlando came out of the gate with great energy on both ends of the court. The Magic shot 13-of-23, made three 3-pointers, outrebounded the Pacers 17-6, held them to 30.0% shooting from the field and forced five turnovers.

Dwight Howard was incredible in the first quarter. He picked up two fouls so he checked out after playing 10 minutes but his damage was already done. Howard was very active, especially on the defensive end. He blocked three shots, altered several others and kept most of the Pacer players out of the paint all together. Howard also slammed home three highlight-reel dunks, scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds in the quarter. Howard stayed out of foul trouble for the rest of the game but played just 26 minutes because Orlando was up big for most of the game. Howard finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting (but was just 4-of-10 from the free throw line), 11 rebounds, four blocks, and three assists all while turning the ball over just once.

Orlando, as they so often do, relaxed after getting a big lead and allowed the Bobcats to rally in the second quarter, cutting a 44-19 lead to 60-51 with 47 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Jameer Nelson recaptured the momentum by hitting a three-pointer and a long two-point jumper just before the buzzer in the last 31 seconds to push the lead back to 14.

Nelson had a very good all-around game. He continues to be an excellent floor leader, either finding open men on the perimeter when he drives into the lane or finding Dwight Howard for dunks under the basket. Nelson finished the game with eight assists. He also scored 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds.

Vince Carter was just 5-of-11 from the field and missed both of his free throw attempts, but he was extremely aggressive and got to the free throw 11 times and hit all 11 of his attempts. It was encouraging to see Carter attack the basket like that. He finished the game with 21 points.

Matt Barnes provided great energy on both ends of the floor but again let his emotions get the best of him when he picked up a technical foul late in the second quarter. Barnes still managed to fill up the stat sheet – he scored 13 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, stole the ball three times, dished out two assists and blocked a shot.

The bench was excellent again. They combined to score 43 points and both J.J. Redick and Ryan Anderson scored in double figures. Redick also continued to show off his skills as a playmaker, dishing out six assists. Marcin Gortat scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Game Notes:

  • It’s official: The Magic will play the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round.
  • Orlando had seven players score in double figures – Carter 21, Nelson 15, Rashard Lewis 14, Barnes 13, Howard 12, Redick 11, and Anderson 10.
  • Indiana had five – Price 19, Danny Granger 18, Mike Dunleavy 18, Roy Hibbert 12 and Earl Watson 12.
  • Indiana actually outscored Orlando in the paint 40-36.
  • Orlando dominated the boards 53-38.
  • Orlando had some turnover issues, giving it away 17 times.

Next Up: The Magic will play the final regular season game in the history of Amway Arena when they host the Philadelphia 76ers
in the regular season finale on Wednesday night.

Final Thought: The Magic surprisingly played with a lot of energy and dominated the Pacers.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).