Magic vs Pacers – NBA Handicapping
The struggling Orlando Magic will meet up on Saturday with a much-proved, surging Indiana Pacers team that has surpassed the century mark in at least three contests leading up to tip off, after failing to reach 100 points in 13 straight games.
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Date/Time: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 4, 2012
Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Orlando (13-9) is a sinking ship amid the constant Dwight Howard trade rumors, and has dropped four of five and six of nine heading into their bout with lowly Cleveland on Friday. Back-to-back contests probably won’t help their cause either, but the Pacers will also have weary legs after tangling with Dallas in the Big D on Friday.
While Howard’s disinterest is a huge distraction, the Magic’s injury situation doesn’t make things an easier.
Jameer Nelson will miss another game with concussion symptoms, and J.J. Redick is slowed by a bad hamstring. The Magic are struggling to get the ball up the court with Chris Duhon and the newly signed Ish Smith filling in for Nelson, and the Pacers staunch D will surely give them fits.
Meanwhile, Indiana (15-6) who was making its way into contention in the Eastern Conference with strong team defense and rebounding, has exploded offensively of late.
Roy Hibbert and Paul George have had some big games as well, but the difference has been Granger, who went for a season-high 36 points in a win at Minnesota on Wednesday and has averaged 24.8 points in the last five games after putting up 16.1 in the previous 15.
Free Pick: Indiana 101, Orlando 92–Howard has already posted five 20-point, 20-rebound games this season and recently finished as the league’s top vote-getter with 1,600,390 All-Star game votes.
However, the team is falling apart in the midst of all of Howard’s distractions, even affecting coach Stan Van Gundy who admitted to the Orlando Sentinel this week he is taking prescribed sleeping pills during his team’s awful losing streak.
With that, and the Pacers catching fire–I just don’t see any magic for Orlando in this one.