How to Watch Pacers' Game With Magic on Friday; Gametime, TV, Point Spread

Grant Afseth

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana Pacers now face a two-game losing streak after losing to the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks consecutively.  

The Pacers have been without Myles Turner for the last two games and it has been difficult to adjust. He's listed as questionable ahead of when Indiana continues their homestand against the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Here's everything you need to know about Friday night's game between the Indiana Pacers and the Orlando Magic:

Here are the particulars on Friday night's game:

  • Who: Orlando Magic (7-8) vs. Indiana Pacers (8-6)
  • When: 7 p.m. ET, Friday, Jan. 22.
  • Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Latest Line: The Indiana Pacers are a 4-point favorite over the Orlando Magic, according to the DraftKings.com website as of 12 p.m. ET on Friday. 
  • Standings: Indiana is in second place in the Eastern Conference's Central Division, a half-game behind the Milwaukee Bucks. Orlando is in third place in the Eastern Conference's Southeast Division, 0.5 games out of first behind the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Series history: Indiana leads the all-time series, 64-49.
  • Last meeting: Indiana beat Orlando 120-109 on August 4, 2020, in the NBA Bubble. TJ Warren led the way with 34 points, coming off his career-high 53 points in the Pacers' previous outing. 
  • Projected Magic starters: Cole Anthony, Dwayne Bacon, James Ennis III, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic.
  • Projected Pacers starters: Malcolm Brogdon, Edmond Sumner, Justin Holiday, Doug McDermott, Domantas Sabonis.
  • TV: FOX Sports Indiana.
  • Announcers: Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
  • Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)

Here are three things to watch in Friday night's game: 

1. Can the Pacers' defense improve?

The previous two matchups the Pacers have faced both feature superstars like Luka Doncic, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard. The Magic do not have a dynamic threat on the perimeter and overall, their offense has been poor to start the season. 

It's no exaggeration to say the Magic have been one of the NBA's least effective offensive teams so far this season. Orlando is producing just 0.925 points per possession (PPP) and that ranks ahead of only the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This appears to be an ideal matchup for the Pacers to put together an improved performance on defense. If that doesn't end up being the case, Indiana may need to go back to the drawing board.

2. Sabonis vs. Vucevic Matchup

The main bright spot on this Magic team has been the play of Nikola Vucevic. He has been a critical element of Orlando's offense during most of the eight seasons he's played there. However, right now, he's playing at a career-best level.

In 15 appearances, Vucevic is averaging 23.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. His production has been greater than when he earned an All-Star appearance in 2018-19. The Pacers will have their hands full when it comes to slowing him down. 

The Pacers have a standout big man of their own in Sabonis. Both players could end up going at it directly throughout this game. Given how both players are quite crafty, it will be fascinating to watch. 

3. The Myles Turner Effect

It's clear the Pacers have suffered defensively without Myles Turner in the lineup. He could potentially be returning to the lineup after being diagnosed with an avulsion fracture in his right hand. 

If Turner returns to the lineup, he expressed after practice on Thursday that he will be playing through pain. If that's the case, will that impact how he blocks shots? Will it be difficult to be consistent on jump shots? Those are just a few potential ways he could be impacted. 

The Pacers will need Turner's defensive presence in the paint regardless of how limited he could end up being by his hand. The difference from not having him on the floor for the last few games compared to when he's back will be intriguing to see in its own right. 

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