The Orlando Magic rebounded from the worst offensive performance in their history with a convincing 102-83 defeat of the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, one in which Dwight Howard became Orlando's all-time leading scorer and the team handed the hosts their first home loss of the season. At the 9:59 mark of the third, Howard darted down the lane, took a pass from--who else?--Hedo Turkoglu, and threw down a dunk on Roy Hibbert to bring his career scoring total to 10,561, one ahead of Nick Anderson on Orlando's franchise list.
Howard had an otherwise pedestrian game, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds, but his teammates did more than their fair share to help Orlando knock off Indiana. Ryan Anderson, who missed all eight of his shot attempts in the Magic's 31-point loss to the Boston Celtics on Monday, led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while Turkoglu had 11 points and eight assists. The second unit came up big as well, as J.J. Redick scored 15 points and Glen Davis played a sound all-around game, with 14 points and five rebounds on 4-of-6 shooting.
Hibbert and Danny Granger led the Pacers with 16 points apiece, but combined to shoot 10-of-29 from the field with three turnovers. Indiana played sloppily, committing 19 turnovers, the most for a Magic opponent during the 2011/12 season, which Orlando converted into 20 points.
|Team||Pace||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
|Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;|
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.
Though the final score might indicate otherwise, the game wasn't always Orlando's to lose: Indiana shot 57.8 percent in the first 12 minutes, with Granger and Hibbert nearly outscoring Orlando by themselves, with 20 points to the Magic's 22. But Orlando dialed up the defensive pressure over the final three periods, limiting the Pacers to 54 points on 20-of-59 (33.9 percent) shooting.
Orlando, on the second night of a back-to-back, dealt the second-best team in the East its first home loss of the season despite getting only four points on 2-of-12 shooting from its starting backcourt of Jason Richardson and Jameer Nelson; this much bodes well for it going forward, and perhaps eases concerns its 56-point outing against the Celtics the night earlier raised. This team is perhaps deeper and better than initially expected. We'll find out one way or the other soon enough: the Magic enjoy an off day Wednesday before playing four games in the next five nights, including rematches with Boston and Indiana, as well as their first meeting of the season with the Philadelphia 76ers.