The Pacers control their playoff destiny. Win all three games, and you are in. Lose, and you have to hope others lose. Tonight, the Pacers could not afford to play like they normally play on the road. They didn’t.
The Pacers shot a season-high 59% on their way to a 127-112 win over the Orlando Magic.
Paul George had 37 points, 5 assists and 7 rebounds. Myles Turner had 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Paul George continues to resemble the Human Torch as he made 13 of his 21 shots and looked basically unstoppable all night.
The win puts the Pacers in great playoff position as they are in the 7th-seed currently with the Nets beating the Bulls. If Heat lose tonight, Pacers could clinch a playoff spot with just one more win.
Early, Terrance Ross was hot from 3, hitting three straight and scoring all of Orlando’s points. Jeff Teague defensively (you are reading this correctly) made a difference, forcing two Orlando turnovers, and the Pacers took an early lead. Orlando, though, couldn’t miss a shot from 3 (6-7). Still, the Pacers ended the quarter up 1 (39-38 which sounds like a halftime score during the Vogel era). But, I feel like I need to do this now, with only a few games left (enters sidebar)
Monta Ellis is so often a negative on the court, I am flabbergasted. I cheered the Ellis signing when it happened, thinking he easily had several years left to play at a high level. He doesn’t. Without the ability to hit 3s consistently, shifting his game like Vince Carter, he cannot afford to miss layups and within 17 feet. He does. Often. Defensively, he is crafty, occasionally able to pilfer steals, but the majority of possessions he just cannot handle the opposing 2 (leaves sidebar).
The first half ended with the Pacers up 68-59. PG, Turner, and Thad could not miss, and Lance’s ability to put pressure on Orlando’s defense was the difference.
The third quarter saw an early Magic timeout. The end of the quarter saw two 3s. From Lance. LANCE EFFECT! TOOT TOOO! Get on this train if you have been skeptical. Pacers entered the fourth in complete control and remained that way.
Stephenson continued his strong play with the Pacers, finishing +12 while he was on the court with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.