An eight-game losing streak calls for change. And Frank Vogel has finally made that change.
Jonathon Simmons will start in place of Terrence Ross against the Pacers, giving the Magic first-unit an aggressive penetrator and defender that will hopefully light a spark. Simmons will start alongside Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic.
Coming off a game in which the Magic lacked defensive intensity and allowed a season-high 130 points to the Sixers, it seemed only a matter of time before Vogel would implement some kind of tweak to the rotation.
The Magic (8-12) will face the Pacers (11-9) on Monday night with a chance to snap their losing streak. Sound familiar? If so, it’s because we were saying the exact same thing exactly one week ago.
At that point, the Magic were on a four-game losing streak and in dire need of a win against the Pacers to stop the bleeding before heading out on a four-game road trip. The Magic committed 22 turnovers, were victimized by Victor Oladipo, and lost to the Pacers. They then lost the first three games of the road trip, extending their losing streak to eight games.
And now, here we are. Once again with the Magic in dire need against the Pacers to stop the bleeding, but this time with two daunting home games awaiting against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors.
The Pacers, who had their five-game winning streak snapped by the Celtics on Saturday, will get Oladipo back against Orlando after he missed the Boston game because of a bruised knee.
Indiana, which has won 12 of the last 13 meetings against Orlando, enters averaging 107.4 points per 100 possessions, which is sixth best in the league. The Magic have slipped to 104.6 points per 100 possessions, tied for 13th best in the league.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana. Catch the game on Fox Sports Florida, NBA League Pass and ESPN AM 580.
Magic: Elfrid Payton, Jonathon Simmons, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic
Pacers: Darren Collison, Lance Stephenson, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Myles Turner