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Tonight's Game: Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers

2008/2009 NBA Regular Season
Orlando Magic main logo
Indiana Pacers main logo
37-11 19-31
February 6th, 2009
Conseco Fielhouse
7:00 PM
Sun Sports
Probable starters:
Anthony Johnson PG T.J. Ford
Mickael Pietrus SG Jarrett Jack
Hedo Turkoglu SF Mike Dunleavy
Rashard Lewis PF Danny Granger
Dwight Howard C Troy Murphy
Previous Meetings:
November 21st: Magic 100, Pacers 98
November 29th: Magic 110, Pacers 96
January 27th: Magic 135, Pacers 111

Last night, the Indiana Pacers allowed Philadelphia 76ers center Sam Dalembert, who is averaging 5.8 points and 8.3 rebounds on the year, to score 18 points and grab 20 rebounds against them. The 76ers netted 26 assists on 34 field goals in their 99-94 win. That's poor interior and perimeter defense on Indiana's part. To its credit, it held Philadelphia to 40% shooting from the field.

Why do I mention these stats before previewing tonight's game between the Pacers and the Orlando Magic? Because they seem to indicate Orlando should be in for a big night. All-Star center Dwight Howard has punished the Pacers in three previous meetings this season, averaging 26 points, 16 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks while shooting 66.7% from the field. The Magic need to be wary of point guard T.J. Ford, who will be able to get by Anthony Johnson at will. Assuming he plays--he has a nagging knee injury, and some Pacers fans believe he should sit until he's completely healthy--All-Star forward Danny Granger is due for a big game, having laid an egg (4-of-14 from the field, 10 points) last week in Orlando. As long as the Magic don't play complacently, they should cruise to victory.

I should add that tonight's game will be the last chance for Magic guard Courtney Lee to play in his hometown this season, unless the Magic and the Pacers meet in the playoffs. The Indianapolis native and Pike High School graduate got a DNP-CD in the Magic's first visit to the Conseco Fieldhouse. He will most assuredly play tonight, having cemented a spot in Orlando's rotation as the first shooting guard off the bench, although tonight he might run the point. Tyronn Lue, the backup point guard whom the Magic acquired yesterday from the Milwaukee Bucks for Keith Bogans, won't be available until Sunday against New Jersey. Lee dished a career-high 4 assists in the Magic's big win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, but that may have been a product of the Clippers' horrendous defense.

Tip's at 7 on Sun Sports. Go Magic.