Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic Matchup Preview
The NBA restart in Orlando continues tonight as the Indiana Pacers (41-26) will take on the hometown Orlando Magic (32-35). The Pacers have been red hot as of late, going 8-2 in their last ten games and have won the first two games of their stay at the bubble. The Pacers defeated the 76ers in their first game by six points and then beat the Wizards by 11. Indiana has been led by T.J. Warren, whose play has been quite a surprise thus far. The Pacers sit at the 5th seed in the East and have time to finish at an even higher seed.
Meanwhile, Orlando is fighting to maintain their position in the playoffs. They currently sit as the 7th seed after winning their first two games of the restart. They have a half-game lead over the Nets and a six-game lead over the Wizards. It would take a complete catastrophe for this team to miss the playoffs. However, it could still happen, and the Magic need to continue to play well as we head towards the NBA playoffs. Unfortunately for them, forward Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL in the team’s last game, which could prove to be a big blow for Orlando. Nonetheless, they will have a challenge ahead of them in the Indiana Pacers, who have been playing very well.
Time: 6:00 PM ET
Arena: HP Field House, Orlando, FL
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Pacers Starting 5
The Pacers are entering this game following two games of “the T.J. Warren show.” Warren was acquired by the Pacers this offseason from the Suns in exchange for cash considerations. I think it is safe to say that Indiana is getting more worth out of its end on that trade. Against the Philadelphia 76ers, Warren dropped a career-high 53 points on 20-29 shooting on route to a 127-121 win. He then followed up that performance by dropping 34 points and 11 rebounds in a 111-100 victory over the Washington Wizards. Warren has been carrying the load offensively for the Pacers, and they are hoping he can continue his hot streak against the Magic tonight.
Warren isn’t the only bright spot on this team, however. The team still has former All-Star Victor Oladipo, who has recently rejoined the Pacers starting lineup after recovering from a devastating quad injury. The Pacers also start Myles Turner, who is one of the best defensive centers in the NBA. However, Indiana’s other star players have not been producing, leaving Warren to take the brunt of the offensive load. If the Pacers want to continue their success, they will need more than Warren to contribute. This is especially true now, as Pacers star power forward Domantas Sabonis has been sidelined with a foot injury so far during the bubble. The Pacers would like to win as many games without him as he’s injured, and I don’t think that they will be able to keep winning unless more players contribute offensively that aren’t named T.J. Warren.
Magic Starting 5
The Magic have also enjoyed a solid start to the NBA restart. Orlando has won each of their first two games, although they were against the Nets and the Kings. The Pacers will be the first team that has already clinched a spot in the playoffs that the Magic will have to face. Without Jonathan Isaac on the court, beating the Pacers will now be even more of a challenge for Orlando. The most productive player for the Magic so far has been Nikola Vucevic, who put up 22+ points in both of Orlando’s outings. They will need him to have a good game if they hope to beat Indiana, although he will be matched up against a great defender in Myles Turner.
Without Isaac on the floor, Orlando will need more production from their wings. Aaron Gordon scored 22 points in their win against Sacramento, but he only scored 10 in the Magic’s first game against Brooklyn. Gordon will need to take on a more significant role in their offense and play better defensively without Isaac. Evan Fournier is another player who Orlando would like to see play more consistently. He put up 24 points against the Nets, but only scored a mere 4 points against the Kings. The Magic would like to see players step up and play more consistently, especially with the upcoming absence of Jonathan Isaac that the team will have to work through.
Pacers vs Magic Fantasy Basketball Angle
After seeing what the man has done in his first two games of the NBA restart, I feel like I am obligated to highlight him. T.J. Warren has been a walking bucket thus far in the NBA restart, and you should be starting him in your fantasy lineup. Warren scored a ridiculous 53 points on 20-29 shooting against the 76ers, including hitting a dagger three at the end of the game to seal the win for Indiana. He followed up that performance by pouring in 34 points and 11 rebounds in another win against the Wizards. Warren has been rolling offensively, and I see no reason not to start him in fantasy. He is going up against the Magic, who will be worse defensively now that their best defender in Jonathan Isaac has gone down with a torn ACL. While there is no guarantee that Warren continues to have this kind of production, I would start him tonight against the Magic regardless.
Pacers vs Magic Betting Odds
Pacers Odds Odds: +100
Magic Odds: -120
The oddsmakers are favoring the Magic in this matchup, and quite frankly, I am confused as to why they have done this. Although both teams have gone 2-0 thus far in the NBA restart, I believe that the Pacers are a better team overall than the Magic. Orlando also suffered the devastating loss of Jonathan Isaac while the Pacers won two straight at the hand of the red-hot T.J. Warren. If I were a betting man, I would go with the Pacers in this situation. As for the over/under, my suggestion would be to bet the under in this matchup, as both teams have had several players show significant inconsistency on offense.
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