Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers (March 10, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic return home from their three-game road trip looking to put some distance between themselves and eighth in the Eastern Conference. They face a struggling Indiana Pacers team with a potent offense to challenge their defense in this critical game.

The Orlando Magic look to put the defensive clamps on the Indiana Pacers once again and sweep the season series in a critical game for the Eastern Conference standings.
The Orlando Magic look to put the defensive clamps on the Indiana Pacers once again and sweep the season series in a critical game for the Eastern Conference standings. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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March 10, 2024. Magic Pacers Matchup 03.10.24. Magic by 1.5 (O/U 227.5). 6P. 35-29. 100. Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports Indiana. 37-27. 38

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Tickets:
$50-$17,807 on StubHub
Season Series:
Magic 128, Pacers 116 in Indianapolis on Nov. 19; Magic 117, Pacers 110 in Indianapolis on Dec. 23; Tonight in Orlando

Pace

Off. Rtg.

Def. Rtg.

eFG%

O.Reb.%

TO%

FTR

Indiana

102.5

120.2

118.9

57.9

28.6

13.0

22.6

Orlando

97.6

112.9

111.3

54.1

30.3

15.2

29.5

OMD Prediction

Our Record: 41-23/33-31

The Orlando Magic have to be steaming and stewing after their loss to the New York Knicks on Friday. It was not so much the loss to a team that was trailing them in the standings. It was the way they got manhandled from the beginning and the fact they scored the fewest points in an NBA game since December 2020.

Orlando should want redemption for that game going up against one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

The Magic should hope they learned their lesson too after slow starts in the last three games on the road. Orlando is a different team at the Kia Center though. The Magic have been tough to beat and their offense gets supercharged there.

The key will be whether the Orlando Magic can repeat their defensive showing agains the Indiana Pacers from their two games in November and December. Orlando has been one of the few teams in the league to slow down Indiana successfully. And the Magic have the personnel and the momentum to defend at a higher level now.

The question is about their response after such a bad loss Friday. And whether they can still contain Tyrese Haliburton if Jalen Suggs misses his second straight game (he is QUESTIONABLE to play).

Magic Pacers Prediction 03.10.24. 119. 38. Prediction. 113. 100

3 Keys to Watch

Magic's Defense vs. Pacers' Offense

The storyline whenever the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers face each other is the battle between one of the best offensive teams in the league (Indiana is second in the league in offensive rating) and the best defensive teams in the league (Orlando is fourth in the league in defensive rating).

Orlando did a number on Indiana in two previous meetings too. The Magic held the Pacers to 107.4 points per 100 possessions in their game in November and 114.6 points per 100 possesions in December.

Of course, both of those games came before the Pascal Siakam trade. And while his presence has not completely changed the Pacers' defense, he adds a new element to the offense the Magic have not seen.

The good news might be that Orlando is playing some very strong defense currently. The Magic have a 110.6 defensive rating in the last 15 games. Even the game against the New York Knicks on Friday featured solid defense, even if it was worse than the team's overall average for the season.

The story of this game will be whether Orlando can slow Indiana down a third time.

Mathur-out

The big news for the Indiana Pacers is that star sophomore forward Bennedict Mathurin is out for the season after tearing a labrum in his right shoulder.

It is a big loss for the Pacers considering he was averaging 14.5 points per game and anchored one of the highest-scoring benches in the league. Indiana is going to have to find a way to fill in his minutes. It is this kind of injury that makes trading Buddy Hield feel a bit more difficult.

Mathurin struggled in both matchups with the Orlando Magic this season. And that was a big part of Orlando's ability to win.

The Pacers still have shooters who can step up. Ben Sheppard is going to fill a lot of those minutes. But the Pacers' bench gets thin without Mathurin in the lineup.

Home/Road Difference

The Orlando Magic had a successful road trip, going 2-1. But the loss to the New York Knicks stings. They missed a good chance to pick up a big road win. That still stings with the Magic holding a 16-19 road record.

Orlando is much different at home. The team is 21-8 at Kia Center, guaranteeing a winning home record. And there are a lot of games left on the home parquet.

The team's difference at home and the road is still pretty stark. The Magic have a 116.4 offensive rating in home games compared to a 110.0 offensive rating on the road. That is a big difference especially considering the team has a 109.2 defensive rating on the home floor.

Next. Magic offensive actions 03.10.24. Orlando Magic need to get into offensive actions sooner. dark

Teams always play better at home. So it is not surprising to see this kind of a split. Not entirely at least. But the Magic are a significantly better home team. And that should wash out the taste of a bad loss Friday with 10 of the next 11 games at Kia Center and 18 total games remaining.