INDIANAPOLIS – Down by as many as 21 points in the first half, the Indiana Pacers (27-23) looked to be destined for a disappointing loss. The second half was a different story.
The Blue and Gold still trailed by double figures well into the fourth, but caught fire late and ultimately held on for a 114-112 win over the Orlando Magic (14-34). With another big come-from-behind victory, the Pacers now have a wild five wins in games that they fall behind by 19 or more points.
Orlando got off to a quick start in the first, jumping out to a 14-6 lead less than four minutes in. Things didn’t get better for the Pacers, as an Aaron Gordon four-point play with two seconds left in the frame made it a 32-22 Magic lead after one.
Indy’s struggles continued in period two. The Pacers continued to play sloppy and Orlando took advantage, outscoring Indiana 38-31. A buzzer-beating triple from Darren Collison kept Indiana’s halftime deficit under 20, making it 70-53 at the break.
It was a brutal back-to-back, first half wise, for Indiana. The Blue and Gold gave up a season-worst 73 points to the Cavs on Friday and the Magic came close to matching that a night later with a whopping 70 in the first 24 minutes.
The Pacers have made a bit of a habit of making large second half comebacks and Saturday was no different.
A 9-2 run to begin the third quarter set the tone for Indy, trimming Orlando’s edge to ten in a hurry. The Pacers got as close as seven in the third, setting the stage for something big in the fourth.
It didn’t come quickly, however, as the Magic kept the Blue and Gold at bay for the first half of the fourth quarter. That started to change at the 6:09 mark of the frame.
A Victor Oladipo bucket kicked off a 15-0 run, a run that put the Pacers ahead for good. Orlando nearly got back on top, though.
Indiana led by two with just seconds to go, but Gordon got to the free throw line with seven ticks on the clock. Gordon missed the front end, prompting him to miss the second on purpose. After the ball bounced around a bit, Jonathon Simmons misfired on a potential game-winning three at the buzzer.
Oladipo led the Pacers with 24 points, six assists and five rebounds. Myles Turner, coming off of the bench for his first game action since Jan. 8, scored just four points and grabbed three rebounds.
Indy returns to action on Monday. The Pacers will battle the Charlotte Hornets for the first time this season, with tip at 7:00 p.m.