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Magic fall to Pacers, 88-69, in Vogel's return to Indiana

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Orlando's defense is coming along nicely, but the offense is still a major work in progress

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic struggled to find their shot again Monday, dampening Frank Vogel's return with a loss to the Pacers. Coming off of a white-hot shooting night in Oklahoma City, the team fell flat in this one from the tipoff and were out of it by the start of the fourth quarter. The cold front was boundless for the Magic, who opened the game by missing 10 of their first 11 shots – and finished shooting 32 percent from the floor, 20 percent from three, and 76 percent from the line.

As the final score would indicate, the Magic defense was able to stymy the Pacers as well, causing the opposing team to shoot 38 percent. Pacer stars Paul George and Myles Turner were contained in this one, finishing at a combined 9-of-27 from the floor. It was Indiana's spacing and depth, as well as the Magic's lack of execution that doomed the away team.

Once again it was the third quarter that led to Orlando's undoing, as the Pacers would rattle off 30 points – the most by either team in a quarter all night. Though the Magic continued to scrap for every point, a stretch of five straight possessions that ended at or near the end of the shot clock would sink their momentum. After their confidence was gone, a mess of overpassing and long two-pointers remained.

These bad shots and sloppy possessions allowed the Pacers to capitalize with nine blocks, and 20 points off of 14 Magic turnovers.

Orlando was able to keep it close early on, leading by as many as six points midway through the second quarter. Though the shots weren't falling, this seemed to play right into Frank Vogel's hands as the defensively inclined Magic were able to take the lead based off of hustle points. Fueled off of Sunday's win, the Magic defense tightened up behind the play of free agent acquisition Bismack Biyombo.

Biyombo had one his best games in pinstripes during the loss, as he finished a perfect 4-of-4 from the field with nine rebounds and three blocks. His shot blocking presence anchored the Magic defense on a night where the other Magic bigs weren't much help offensively. Nikola Vucevic and Serge Ibaka combined to go 4-of-23 from the floor, though their 25 combined rebounds helped to buoy that performance.

Orlando point guard Elfrid Payton was able to continue his strong play, hitting 5-of-11 from the field while compiling seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

The Magic (4-7) will return home shortly to take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday. The last time these two teams met, the result was an overtime thriller in the preseason where Anthony Davis went off for 33 points.