PreGame Chatter: Pacers vs. Magic

Grant Afseth

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Pacers will continue their homestand as they take on the Orlando Magic on Friday. 

Entering this matchup, the Pacers hold an 8-6 record and will look to end a two-game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Magic are coming off a 97-96 come from behind victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Before the game, Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren spoke to the media to discuss the matchup. 

Here is what Bjorkgren had to say before tipoff:

Myles Turner Will Play

The Pacers will get Myles Turner back in the lineup after he was sidelined for the team's previous two games. He will play against the Magic despite having to play through pain. 

"Myles is a go. Myles has shown a lot of toughness during this and I know you guys have heard me say it a few times, I couldn't be more impressed with what he said to me and what he's about to do. 

"[Myles] was hearing it could be two weeks, three weeks from the first second that it happened, he said 'no way coach. I'm going to be out there on the floor helping this team.' His importance to this team, him being the anchor of our defense and protecting the rim. 

"His overall toughness, it's one thing that I coached against him in the past and I knew he was a great player. And now getting to coach him has been amazing and just him to show this toughness to be out on the floor tonight is really big. It's really big." 

Adjustments on Defense

The Pacers have struggled defensively without Myles Turner over the last few games. Even though he will return to the lineup, the team emphasized film study to make adjustments.

"You'd like to think every film session will help the team. Every little practice, every little film session, individual team clips, you name it. Any huddle, any timeout, you want your team to improve throughout the year.

"There's going to be some highs and lows. And absolutely, the players, myself, we want to come out and play better and be more active on the defensive end so we can get out and go."

Shake It Up vs. Vucevic

The main point of attack for the Magic is playing through Nikola Vucevic. He is scoring at a career-best rate with an average of 23.3 points per game. The Pacers will look to get creative to slow him down. 

"[Vucevic] is very versatile, as you know. Can score it from the arc, can score. it from the block and the mid-post. He can handle it. You know he's going to be involved in a lot of ball screens or he'll pick-pop, or he'll screen and dive to his mid-post or his short corner area. 

"It's just got to be different things on him. He's got to see different defenses. He's got to feel our pressure when he does have the ball. We want to try to take away his space. Try to take away his spots and be physical to where we establish position and not him."

Aaron Gordon the Point Forward

With Markelle Fultz sidelined for the remainder of the 2020-21 season, the Magic have turned to Aaron Gordon more as a primary ball-handler. The Pacers will aim to send pressure his way to disrupt Orlando's offense.

"[Gordon] has been bringing it down a lot more, handling it more. He's shooting it from the arc better. He'll get off the ball and he'll go down and try to post-up. He's a very good cutter and slasher and crasher from the corners and slots...

"We've got to pressure him. We just can't let him walk it down and bring it down to get into their sets. We have to disrupt what they're trying to do."

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