Second-Half Orlando Magic games the NBA should put on national TV
March 10: vs. Indiana Pacers
The Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers have fallen off some from their early season runs. But both teams look to be among the young teams eager to break through into the top group in the Eastern Conference. They both have extremely bright futures in front of them.
Somehow both the Pacers and Magic got the short shrift on national TV appearances.
The Pacers could not even get a few more appearances added after their exciting run to the NBA In-Season Tournament Final. Those knockout round games represented Tyrese Haliburton's first appearances on TNT.
The Pacers have only one national TV appearance on their schedule -- the Jan. 30 game against the Boston Celtics, in Boston no less.
Personally, the NBA completely dropped the ball on this front. They should have used the In-Season Tournament as a chance to build a new star in Tyrese Haliburton.
And, sure, the Pacers went through a bit of a swoon but have bounced back with Haliburton getting set to return from injury and the acquisition of Pascal Siakam.
The Pacers have bounced back to lay claim to sixth in the Eastern Conference. And with both the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic fading, this appears to be a playoff team.
And with their offense, the Pacers should be one of the young teams the league should be looking to build and grow.
Of course, the only team that has consistently slowed the Pacers down are the Magic. The Pacers scored only 116 and 110 points in the two meetings -- both Magic wins. Orlando's defense was a problem for Indiana.
The NBA should be better at featuring up-and-coming teams and making future stars. Tyrese Haliburton is still going to start in the All-Star Game and Paolo Banchero should be getting the nod as a reserve. These are two players who figure to be part of the league's future.
So why not feature them one more time?
The Magic and Pacers have one more game remaining at Kia Center in March. On Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament, no less, when the league may not be getting the whole attention of the basketball world.
Currently, the NBA has the Brooklyn Nets taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers as the lone game on ESPN that evening. The league's bet on the Nets being a playoff contender turned out to be a bad one. And if they continue to struggle -- they are at 19-27 and tied for 10th in the Eastern Conference playoff chase -- the Nets should see some of their games pulled.
Then again, they are still in the postseason race and Ben Simmons' return delivers some promise for revival.
Still, the league should be looking to feature and grow some of its new young stars. And Magic-Pacers looks a lot like that future.