Brogdon Delivers in Clutch, Pacers Defeat Magic 120-118
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Pacers entered Friday's matchup with the Orlando Magic riding a two-game losing streak. Myles Turner made his return to the lineup -- proving to make a key difference.
The Magic rode blistering hot perimeter shooting at the very start of this game to achieve an 11-5 advantage. The Pacers tightened up on defense and ultimately held a 37-28 advantage through the first quarter, which ended up being the game's largest lead.
While Turner was on the sidelines for the start of the second quarter, the Magic took full advantage. The Pacers saw their nine-point lead dimish to being tied at 45 apiece by the time Turner checked back in at the 7:07 mark.
Neither team managed to pull away prior to halftime -- finishing the initial 24 minutes of action with the Pacers up 62-60. It was more of the same from both teams in the third quarter as each side traded respective blows. The Pacers held an 88-87 edge entering the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Pacers looked as though they could put the game away but it was more of the same from both teams. It came down to execution in regulation's final stages.
Facing a 108-106 deficit with 16.7 seconds left to play, Sabonis made a read out of a dribble handoff action to drive into the lane and execute a left-hand finish. On the other end, he managed to swipe the ball from Aaron Gordon near the basket -- subsequently forcing overtime as both teams had 108 points at the end of regulation.
"Good action by everyone else in the pace of their routes," Bjorkgren said of Sabonis' finish to force overtime. "Good pass, good bucket, good finish. That's the players. I just thought the spacing was in our favor on that play."
The Magic held a 115-110 lead early in overtime and the Pacers had to overcome that down the stretch without elite defender Turner on the floor. He dealt with a cramp and the team's training staff advised against letting his minutes rack up too high.
At one point, the Pacers had tied the game at 115 apiece using a three-pointer from Brogdon, but it was later determined by the NBA Replay Center that he had stepped out-of-bounds. He would later get his chance at late-game heroics.
Facing the prospect of a three-game losing streak, the Pacers relied on Brogdon to deliver in the final moments of overtime. A pivotal catch-and-shoot three-pointer put Indiana ahead 120-118 over the Magic with 2.8 seconds left to play.
“I like to take big shots,” Brogdon said. “My teammates and coaches trust me to take shots. I trust myself to take big shots. I knew where the shot clock was, so I just shot the ball.”
There was still a chance for the Magic to pull off a game-deciding last-second play to pull out a win. That was something to genuinely watch considering Orlando did precisely that in their previous outing. Cole Anthony converted on a three-pointer at the buzzer in their 97-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Fournier managed to get a clean look from beyond the arc as time expired but it was off-line. He was pivotal for the Magic throughout this game and elevated his contributions in the fourth quarter and overtime -- scoring 26 points.
"We were putting a lot of attention on Fournier," Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren said of the game's final play. "Obviously he had a big fourth and big overtime. We wanted to put a lot of attention there.
"If we had any trouble with him coming off that stagger, Domas was to stay high. So we may have had two guys running at him. He did a little shot fake but Domas was there and came back around and contested it again."
The Pacers received strong contributions from just about all of their key players at different points of this game. Brogdon and Sabonis had led the group throughout the season but having Turner and Lamb back in the fold provided them with enough support to pull off a victory.
Turner made a major impact in his return to the lineup. He finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks in his first game back from a fracture in his right hand. His defensive presence was felt throughout this game.
It wasn't just Turner that managed to break through the 20-point barrier. Malcolm Brogdon (23) and Jeremy Lamb (22) each achieved this mark. Meanwhile, Sabonis nearly had a triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists while also adding five steals.
The Pacers will enter a home back-to-back against the Toronto Raptors beginning on Sunday night.