Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers (Jan. 22, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Evan Fournier's free agent decision looms large as the Orlando Magic plan their future. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Evan Fournier's free agent decision looms large as the Orlando Magic plan their future. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic finishing up their road trip with a test against the short-handed Indiana Pacers and a chance to even their record at .500 again.

Orlando Magic (7-8) vs. Indiana Pacers (8-6)


7 p.m./FOX Sports Florida




No Tickets Available

2020 Season Series:

Pacers 109, Magic 102

in Orlando on Nov. 10;

Pacers 111, Magic 106

in Indianapolis on Nov. 23;

Pacers 120, Magic 109

in the NBA Campus on Aug. 4

2021 Season Series:

Today in Indianapolis

PaceOff. Rtg.Def. Rtg.eFG%O.Reb.%TO%FTR

OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic snapped their losing streak with a comeback victory and a buzzer-beating shot from Cole Anthony. It was a much-needed sigh of relief for the team after struggling so much and clearly pressing trying to get back on the right side of the ledger. The Magic hopefully can play a bit looser now and committed to what they have to do to win. But there are still some warning signs. While the Magic have put together back-to-back good defensive games, their offense is still a complete mess. Even with Evan Fournier back in the lineup. The team will still have long stretches where they cannot score. The Indiana Pacers still are a fundamentally sound team even without Myles Turner. Their offense is efficient and they spread the floor with shooters. They will take advantage of the mistakes the Magic make.

100. Prediction. 103. 38. 107

3 Keys To Watch

Attacking the paint

The Indiana Pacers are likely to be without Myles Turner for a third straight game thanks to a fracture in his hand. Without him, the Pacers have a major lack of depth in their frontcourt and they become an easier team to attack in the paint. That is what the Dallas Mavericks did to pull away eventually and get the win.

The Mavericks had 68 points in the paint in the game. For the season, the Pacers give up 49.3 points in the paint, 25th in the league. Even with Turner, teams have been able to attack the paint. It has only gotten worse with Turner out. The Magic, for their part, score 42.9 points in the paint, 27th in the league. Orlando cannot settle for threes in this game and have to do a good job getting their paint touches.

3-Point Defense

The biggest weakness of the Orlando Magic’s defense to this point in the season has been their 3-point defense. Teams are shooting 36.9-percent from beyond the arc this season against the Magic. That is 17th in the league. The 3-pointers feel bigger because of the Magic’s own inability to score for sure.

Indiana is full of shooters though. And the Pacers are going to be able to play a lot of 5-out sets with Domantas Sabonis on the perimeter. Between him, Malcolm Brogdon and Doug McDermott, there are a lot of threats the Magic will have to be aware of on the perimeter. They cannot let this game become a firing range from deep.

Cole Confidence

The talk for the Orlando Magic throughout the last 24 hours has been Cole Anthony’s game-winning shot. It was a defining moment for a player early in his career. Especially one who has struggled a ton and been asked to do a lot more than he probably should at this early stage. This is a moment that hopefully confirms he belongs and gives him the confidence to do so.

Really, though, Anthony has been building a lot of confidence over the last few games. He is averaging 12.4 points per game in his last five games, shooting 36.9-percent from the field and 39.1-percent from beyond the arc. The numbers still are not great, but he is starting to get some confidence and feel for where his shots and scoring can come from. He needs to play within imself. But he needs to play confidently too. Seeing how he builds and responds to the adulation that came with this big moment will be a big test for the young player.