3 Things to Like and Dislike from Pacers' Win Against Magic
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Pacers ended a two-game losing streak with their 120-118 overtime victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night.
Early in this game, the Pacers got off to a strong start and held a 37-28 lead at the end of the first quarter. This was the largest lead of the game. The Magic rallied back before halftime and both teams remained close for the remainder of the game.
Toward the end of regulation, the Pacers had to execute to end regulation in a tie and even faced a 115-110 deficit early in overtime. Indiana managed to rally back and used a game-winning three-pointer from Malcolm Brogdon -- leaving the Magic with a 120-118 disadvantage and just 2.8 seconds left in the game.
This matchup marked the return of Myles Turner from a two-game absence. The Pacers still were without Caris LeVert and TJ Warren as they recover from their respective health issues.
Here are three things to like and dislike from the Pacers' win over the Magic:
Like: Clutch Time Heroics
Sometimes the outcome of a matchup can be decided by whichever team simply executes better in late-game situations. For the Pacers, this was the case toward the end of regulation to force overtime, but especially in overtime itself.
Since the Paul George trade, Victor Oladipo held the role as the team's closer and relied heavily on his ability to make big shots. Being able to trust both Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon with the ball when the game is on the line is significant for the Pacers.
Dislike: Perimeter Defense
There is a clear emphasis from the Pacers' defense to favor protecting the paint from lane penetration as opposed to staying home on shooters. The Magic managed to go 17-of-37 (45.9%) from the perimeter and outscored Indiana by 15 points from beyond the arc.
So far this season, the Pacers are giving up a staggering 1.185 points per possession (PPP) on spot-up possessions. That's by far the worst figure in the NBA from an efficiency standpoint. Additionally, these particular plays occur on 26.2% of their defensive possessions -- the fifth-highest frequency in the league.
Like: Jeremy Lamb Continues to Thrive
For a player who made just his second appearance after an 11-month recovery from injury, Jeremy Lamb is playing at a truly high level. He provided a pivotal 28 minutes of action off the bench -- finishing with 22 points and seven rebounds.
The Pacers need all of the extra scoring contributions outside of Brogdon and Sabonis as they can manage to get. Lamb can help fill a solid amount of the void on the perimeter left behind by Caris LeVert and TJ Warren being sidelined for the foreseeable future.
Dislike: Bench Defense
As one might expect, there was a clear decline in the Pacers' defensive impact when Myles Turner was on the sidelines. He played for the entirety of the opening period and Indiana had built a 37-28 lead at that point. Indiana was then tied at 45 apiece when he checked back in.
The Pacers produced a 113.0 defensive rating during the 11 minutes that Turner was not on the court. That's not too surprising when considering at one point, Indiana used a lineup that featured Jeremy Lamb playing the four spot with Sabonis anchoring the group.
Like: Myles Turner is Back
Much was made of the Pacers being without Myles Turner for their previous two games, and for good reason. In his return, he made a clear difference defensively and was key in limiting Nikola Vucevic to more shots from the field (29) than he had points (24).
Turner was no slouch offensively, either. He looked as aggressive as he has ever in his career and racked up a season-high 22 points. Going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc with a fractured shooting hand was not expected and he was determined and comfortable getting to his spot in the paint for finishes.
Dislike: Defensive Job vs. Fournier
The Pacers held Nikola Vucevic in check when taking his total lack of efficiency into account. Indiana did struggle to slow down Evan Fournier as he recorded 26 points and nine assists during this matchup. He even managed to score seven of the Magic's 10 points in overtime
Allowing Fournier to get clean looks from deep almost ended up changing the outcome of this game. Relying a slower-footed big man like Domantas Sabonis to have to get out on the shot and alter it was a bit risky. Granted, the shot didn't fall, but regardless, it was a favorable look for the Magic.