Game Preview: Pacers at Magic

Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 7:00 PM ET at Amway Center

Pacers at Magic

GamePreview

With the seven-game skid now behind them, the Indiana Pacers can build on some positive momentum when they take on the Orlando Magic Wednesday at Amway Center.

Two of the top rookies from the 2022 NBA Draft will square off, as the Magic’s Paolo Banchero is poised to play against the Pacers after missing the previous two meetings due to injury.

Banchero, a 6-foot-10 forward from Duke University, leads all rookies in scoring average at 20.7 points per game. He’s also averaging 6.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.0 steals in his first professional season.

For the Pacers, rookie Bennedict Mathurin, the No. 6 overall pick, has also been superb. Mathurin, a 6-5 guard from Arizona University, leads all bench scorers in the NBA at 17.3 points per game while also averaging 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He has scored at least 20 points 19 times this season.

While Banchero has a higher point-per-game average, Mathurin leads the total points column (856-829) among rookies. Banchero has played in 40 games this season to Mathurin’s 48.

Both rookies are just 20 years old.

On Tuesday, the Pacers (24-25) overcame a 21-point deficit in a 116-110 windows over the Chicago Bulls (22-24), snapping a seven-game losing streak.

Mathurin scored 26 points for the Pacers in the win, including 15 points in the fourth quarter. Pacers center Myles Turner also had 26 points to go along with seven rebounds and point guard TJ McConnell – now in a starting role with Tyrese Haliburton sidelined due to injury – finished with 20 points and 10 assists.

After Banchero, Franz Wagner, in his second year from Germany, is scoring 20.4 points per game to go along with 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists while center Wendell Carter Jr. is averaging 15.3 points and 8.7 rebounds. All three players are listed at 6-foot-10.

The Magic are coming off one of their more surprising wins this season, a 113-98 victory over the East’s top-ranked team, the Boston Celtics (35-14). In that game, Banchero scored 23 points and Carter had 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Indiana will again be without Haliburton on Wednesday, who has been sidelined with elbow and knee sprains since he sustained the injuries on Jan. 11. The Pacers have won just one game since Haliburotn got hurt.

With minutes up for grabs, McConnell has stepped up in recent games, scoring in double figures in seven of the last eight games. Over the last 10 games, McConnell is averaging 11.5 points, 6.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds.

Indiana comes into the game standing ninth in the East, a half game behind the Atlanta Hawks, while the Magic are in 13th.

Project starters

Pacers: G – TJ McConnell, G – Andrew Nembhard, F – Buddy Hield, F – Aaron Nesmith, C – Myles Turner

Magic: G – Markelle Fultz, G – Gary Harris, F – Franz Wagner, F – Paulo Banchero, C – Wendell Carter Jr.

Injury report

Pacers: Andrew Nembhard – questionable (non-COVID illness), Tyrese Haliburton – out (left knee/elbow sprains), Daniel Theis – out (right knee surgery)

Magic: Caleb Houstan – out (G League assignment), Chuma Okeke – out (left knee surgery)

last meeting

Nov 21, 2022: Indiana won a second game in three nights against Orlando, 123-102, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The Pacers trailed by a point after the first quarterer but held the magic to 17 points in the second to go up 54-45 by intermission.

Out of the break, the Pacers dropped 32 points before following up with 37 more in the final frame to secure the win.

Six Pacers scored in double figures, led by 22 from rookie Bennedict Mathurin. The Pacers dominated at the point guard position, with Tyrese Haliburton totaling 18 points and 14 assists while TJ McConnell collected 19 points and 10 assists off the bench.

Franz Wagner topped the box score for the Magic with 20 points and six rebounds and Gary Harris chipped in 18 points.

The Pacers shot 50 percent from the field, but made just 13 of 46 3-point attempts, while holding the Magic to 42.4 percent shooting.

Despite a clear size advantage at almost every position, the Pacers outrebounded the Magic 48-38 and outscored the visitors in the paint 58-42.

Noteworthy

  • Gary Harris, a Fishers native, attended Hamilton Southeastern High School and was Indiana Mr. Basketball in 2012.
  • The Magic have lost nine of the last 11 matchups with the Pacers and 28 of the last 35 overall.
  • Indiana will go back to Orlando on Feb. 25 to conclude a four-game season series with the Magic.
broadcast information (TV and Radio Listings >>)

TV: Bally Sports Indiana – 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)

tickets

The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, Jan. 27 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>

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