Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers (April 9, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic have had to restart and watch careful progress to win in the first quarter. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic have had to restart and watch careful progress to win in the first quarter. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic prepare to debut the final piece of their trade deadline haul as Gary Harris plays his first game in a Magic uniform against the Indiana Pacers.

Orlando Magic (17-34) vs. Indiana Pacers (23-27)


7 p.m./Bally Sports Florida




$15-$9,300 on StubHub

2021 Season Series:

Pacers 120, Magic 118

in Indianapolis on Jan. 22; Tonight in Orlando; April 25 in Orlando

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

OMD Prediction

In some respects, the Indiana Pacers are where the Orlando Magic hoped they would be. They do not have a singular star who dominates games but rather a bunch of solid players who fill their roles and play hard defense to the team’s identity. This has been enough for the Pacers to make the playoffs and compete seemingly every year with a few spurts beyond the first round on occasion.

Except, this year the Pacers have seen a similar slip to the Magic. Their defense has fallen off a cliff. They have been without T.J. Warren all year. Myles Turner is out for Friday’s game. And Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon are questionable for the game. That does not make the Indiana Pacers any less potent — they dropped 141 points in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. But it does open the door a little bit. Especially if the Magic have tightened things up defensively.

38. Prediction. 102. 100. 108

3 Keys To Watch

Gary Harris’ debut

The Orlando Magic will be adding the final player acquired at the trade deadline to their lineup (although Otto Porter is still out after his brief debut during the road trip) with Gary Harris making his debut in a Magic uniform. Harris is a well-respected player known for his defense and how good of a teammate he can be. James Ennis joked after practice Thursday about how athletic Gary Harris is with some of the finishes he goofs off with during practice.

Harris was averaging 9.7 points per game on a 51.9-percent effective field goal percentage. His scoring was his lowest since his rookie year. But the story of his career has been about his injuries. He has not played more than 60 games in all but two seasons in his career. The injuries have also clearly sapped his 3-point shooting. He is a career 35.9-percent shooter from deep but has not hit that mark in three seasons. Orlando’s goal right now is getting him healthy. So a debut is an important first step.

Who steps up?

The Indiana Pacers have been down a lot of key players all year. Injuries have hurt that roster and have put them squarely in the Play-In Tournament conversation. But the team has struggled to find consistency. And their defense has slipped considerably. With Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren all dealing with injuries at the same time, the Pacers have had a pretty sizable hole.

The Pacers have lost a lot of games. But this is still a team that tries to overwhelm teams with depth. Aaron Holiday scored 22 points off the bench in Wednesday’s win and T.J. McConnell scored 19 points and dished out 15 assists. The Pacers still have a lot of guys who play hard and can fill in. Like the Magic, the Pacers’ bench has been doing the crux of the work for the team. This is a game that will require everyone to be on their toes and the lineups will be a bit fluid.

Mo Bamba’s consistency

The waiving of Khem Birch has opened the pathway for Mohamed Bamba to play consistent minutes. The backup center spot is his with the chance to finish games when he plays well — as he did in Wednesday’s loss with a career-high 19 points. This has been coming as Bamba has played very well since the trade deadline. He has scored in double figures in every game but one — and he missed the second half of that game with a stomach illness.

Bamba is averaging 11.0 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting 42.9-percent from beyond the arc. That is just in 17.6 minutes per game. That number is sure to creep up without any other options at center available.

Next. 3 players to consider to replace Khem Birch. dark

This kind of consistency is welcome and Bamba said he is feeling a lot more comfortable now that his minutes and playing time are consistent. He is playing with a lot more confidence too. To the point he was starting to roll and rim run a lot more and Cole Anthony was searching for lobs with him. He has to clean up some things defensively still. But experience should help.