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Pacers 95, Magic 73: Cold-shooting Orlando falls to Indiana

Despite missing forward David West with a sprained lower back, Indiana had no problems at all defeating Orlando. The loss mathematically eliminated the Magic from playoff contention.

Nik Vucevic and Roy Hibbert
Nik Vucevic and Roy Hibbert

The Orlando Magic played one of its worst games of the season, as their shooting was as frigid as the Midwest weather outside. The Magic shot a season-low 31.8%, were pounded on the boards 63-42, and scored their second-fewest points of the year in their 95-73 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

This was the Magic's 50th loss of the season, their first 50-loss season since 2003-04.

Only Maurice Harkless and Arron Afflalo scored in double figures for the visitors, as each scored ten points. The five Orlando starters combined to shoot 16 for 63 (25.4%) from the field.

Four Pacers scored in double figures to make up for the absence of forward David West, led by forward Paul George with 19 points. Tyler Hansbrough, starting for West, contributed a double-double of 14 points, 14 rebounds. Indiana shot just 39% for the game, but made 21 of 24 (87.5%) free throws compared to 14 of 21 (66.7%) for the Magic in addition to the huge 21-rebound edge for the hosts.

Jameer Nelson and Harkless each hit 3-pointers to help the Magic jump out to a 12-7 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter. Orlando would not score again in the quarter, missing their final eleven shots, as the Pacers led 19-12 going into the second quarter. The Magic shot a frigid 5 for 26 (19%) in the opening quarter.

Things didn't go much better for Orlando in the second quarter. The Magic trailed 25-21 after Harkless split two free throws with 9:16 remaining in the half, but Indiana went on a 11-2 run to extend their lead to 13 points 36-23 with 3:33 remaining. Indiana maintained their 13-point lead the rest of the half, and led 42-29 going into halftime.

The first-half numbers were not pretty for the Magic. They shot just 26% from the field, including 20% on 3s, and 43% on free throws. The five Magic starters combined to shoot 7 for 36 (19%) in the half, with Harkless the leading scorer with six points.

Indiana didn't exactly shoot well either, shooting just 38% for the half. Forward Paul George led the Pacers with 12 first-half points.

Indiana maintained the double-digit lead the entire second half, as the closest the Magic would come was 67-55 after Beno Udrih split two free throws with 38 seconds remaining in the third. There would be no dramatic comeback attempt from the Magic in this game though, as Indiana led by as many as 25 points, 89-64, in the final quarter on their way to the 22-point victory.

After a George 3-point play made the score increased the Pacers' lead to 58-44 with under five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Kyle O'Quinn and Roy Hibbert were each charged with technical fouls, and subsequently Magic coach Jacque Vaughn then picked up two technical fouls of his own and was ejected from the game for the first ejection of his coaching career.

Beno Udrih led the Orlando reserves with 9 points, E'Twaun Moore added 8 points, and rookie Andrew Nicholson, after missing two games with an ilness, returned to score 8 points along with 2 blocks.

Tobias Harris had probably his worst game since his trade to the Magic, as he shot just 3 for 13 and scored 6 points in 32 minutes of play. He did grab nine rebounds and block two shots.

Orlando travels to New York to take on the injury-riddled Knicks Wednesday night.