Magic pull out all tricks to pull away from Pacers 114-94
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Evan Fournier scored 25 points and Nikola Vucevic added 24 on Thursday night to lead the Orlando Magic past the Indiana Pacers 114-94.
The Magic have won three straight since snapping a six-game losing streak, including their first win at Indiana since Feb. 4, 2012.
And it came on a night the Pacers couldn’t afford to lose. Indiana, which slipped into the No. 8 slot in the East with Tuesday’s home loss to Chicago, now trails Detroit for the No. 7 spot by one full game.
Paul George scored 27 points and had eight rebounds, while Lavoy Allen finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
The Magic took control with a 7-0 second-quarter run that made it 53-41.
Indiana finally tied the score at 62 early in the third, but Orlando answered with a 14-5 run and steadily pulled away.
After missing the previous 13 games, Vucevic looked like he fit right in with a team that has suddenly found its footing after being eliminated from the playoff chase.
Two nights after scoring 139 points and shooting 61.5 percent from the field, both season highs, the Magic went back at it. Orlando shot 53.3 percent Thursday including 13 of 19 in the third quarter when it fended off Indiana’s rally.
The Magic led 57-51 at the half, extended it to 62-53 early in the third quarter and then watched the Pacers score nine in a row to tie it.
But Victor Oladipo’s 3 broke the tie, starting the big run that put the Pacers in a big hole.
George promised to return from his broken right leg better than ever. He’s proving it every night. After becoming the first Pacers player to top the 40-point mark three times in one season, the three-time All-Star has now set a career high for points in one season with 1,757 and needs two more 3s to become the second Pacers player to make 200 3s in a season. He’s four 3-point attempts away from breaking Reggie Miller’s single-season record (529), set in 1996-97, and his point total is now the fourth-highest on the franchise’s single-season list.
Magic: Snapped a seven-game road losing streak. … Oladipo had 18 points and two steals, leaving him 16 points and three steals short of becoming the third NBA player since 1985-86 to start his career with three straight seasons of 1,100 points, 110 steals and 70 3s. … Andrew Nicholson had 11 points and Elfrid Payton had 10. … The Magic prevented Indiana from getting a second straight season sweep.
Pacers: Had won seven straight and 11 of the previous 12 games in this series. … George Hill made two 3s to move within two of passing Chuck Person (466) for No. 5 on Pacers’ career list. … Ian Mahinmi finished with six points, ending his three-game streak of scoring at least 18 points. … Backup guard Rodney Stuckey left in the first half after hurting his left wrist on a charge. He returned in the second half. … The 20-point loss was Indiana’s third-worst at home this season.
Magic: Travel to Milwaukee on Friday.
Pacers: Visit Philadelphia on Saturday.