Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic Preview
Tonight’s matchup features the Indiana Pacers (32-18) travelling to Orlando to face the Magic (20-31) in an Eastern Conference showdown. The Pacers currently sit in 4th place in the Eastern Conference standings, while the Magic have recently fallen to 11th.
Throughout the season, the Pacers have looked like one of the best teams in the East, and many believed they could be a dark horse pick to make the NBA finals. Led by superstar Victor Oladipo, the Pacers jumped out to a 32-15 start and looked to be heating up as the season progressed. Unfortunately, the Pacers lost Oladipo to a season-ending right knee injury last week, and they have now gone 0-3 without their star player.
The Magic have also suffered a recent skid, going 1-7 in their last 8 games, and they now find themselves 4.5 games outside of a playoff spot. Both teams will be looking for a win in order to reverse their momentum and gain much needed confidence.
Time: 7:00pm ET
Arena: Amway Center, Orlando, FL
Channel: FSIND, FSFL
Indiana Pacers Starting Lineup
Everything seemed to be going right for the Pacers. A late December and early January stretch saw them go 12-3, superstar Victor Oladipo was playing well, and the Pacers looked like a serious threat in the Eastern Conference. Then, Oladipo went down with a right knee injury against the Raptors last week. Immediately, it was apparent that the injury was serious, and Oladipo was quickly ruled out for the rest of the season with a ruptured quad tendon. Since his absence, the Pacers have gone 0-3, failing to score over 103 points in all 3 of their most recent contests. If the Pacers want to continue to be competitive in the Eastern Conference, they will need players to step up on the offensive side of the floor in place of the injured Oladipo.
In their latest game against the Wizards, the Pacers had a balanced offensive attack with six scorers in double figures. The only problem was that no Pacer had more than 13 points. While this balance may look good on paper, the NBA has become a league of superstars, and every successful team has at least one guy who can completely take over a game at a moment’s notice. For the Pacers, that guy was Oladipo, but no replacement option has emerged yet in his absence.
Coach Nate McMillan has a multitude of guys who could be that star, but needs to draw up offensive schemes to allow certain players to thrive. Veteran Bojan Bogdanovic has looked the part at time, but streaky shooting from behind the 3-point line has made the small forward prone to temporary slumps. Power forward Thaddeus Young is another option, but will need to be more aggressive in order to get to the free throw line for the team. Whoever it is, a game against the struggling Magic would be the perfect opportunity for someone to have a big game and establish himself as the alpha dog of the team.
Orlando Magic Starting Lineup
The Magic have officially become a team in absolute free fall. Orlando had a decent start to the season, and there was hope that they could return to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Although they only entered December with an 11-12 record, they were still in playoff position in an extremely weak Eastern Conference. A subpar December saw the Magic go 4-7, but they were still in contention for a playoff spot as their adversaries continued to struggle. However, instead of turning it around, the Magic only regressed in the new year, and they currently sport an ugly 4-11 record in 2019.
They now find themselves five games outside of the playoffs, and many experts are suggesting that they should completely blow up their roster in order to tank for the near future. If the Magic want to keep any playoff hopes alive, they have to be able to beat teams like the Pacers (without Victor Oladipo) down the stretch.
Unlike some of the Eastern Conference bottom dwellers (I’m looking at you Bulls, Cavs, and Knicks), the Magic are clearly trying to win, and they usually come very close before faltering in the fourth quarter. In their most recent game against the Thunder, the Magic led after three quarters, but wound up losing by nine after a horrific closing stretch. Potential all-star center Nikola Vucevic continues to dominate inside, grabbing another double-double with 27 points and 11 rebounds against the Thunder, but he hasn’t received any help from the Magic’s perimeter shooting. The Magic believe they are a 3-point team – they shot 41 3’s against the Thunder – but with “shooters” like DJ Augustin and Aaron Gordon, they are extremely inefficient beyond the arc. If the Magic want to have success this season, they either need to stop relying on perimeter shooting or funnel the ball to actual shooters like Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross.
Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic Betting Odds
Orlando has opened up as a 2 point favorite at home for tonight’s matchup. The Magic are only 10-14 ATS this season, while the Pacers are 12-12 ATS when playing on the road. Recently, the Pacers have played well on short rest, going 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on the second day of a back-to-back. The over-under for the game is set at what seems to be a relatively low 211 points. However, the two teams combined for just 202 points in their only previous meeting this season.
Looking for a Sportsbook to Sign Up On?
If you’re in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, bet on sports is legal and available. Online sportsbooks are giving you free money to sign up on their sites. The best bonus offers featured on Lineups.com are featured here: FanDuel sportsbook promo code, DraftKings sportsbook promo code & Pointsbet promo code offers for the highest sign up bonuses.
DraftKings & FanDuel Fantasy Picks
Find all of our Fanduel and Draftkings projections here: https://www.lineups.com/nba/nba-fantasy-basketball-projections.