Magic open homestand vs. Pacers
(Sports Network) – Two teams battling for playoff positioning in the Eastern
Conference meet tonight, as the Orlando Magic open a four-game homestand
versus the Indiana Pacers at Amway Arena.
Orlando is currently in the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, while
the Pacers are 1 1/2 games behind. Indiana is losing ground with three
straight losses, including Wednesday’s 118-94 setback to the New Jersey Nets
at Continental Airlines Arena in the opener of a brief two-game road trip.
Shawne Williams had 19 points for the Pacers, who were without forward
Jermaine O’Neal due to an injured left knee and ankle. Mike Dunleavy Jr.
contributed 14 points and Troy Murphy, starting in place for O’Neal, tallied
13 points and 14 boards for Indiana, which is tied with New York in the
Eastern Conference standings.
The Pacers have dropped 10 straight on the road and are 11-24 away from
Conseco Fieldhouse this season. In injury news for Indiana, guard Darrell
Armstrong (nose) is probable for Friday’s game, while O’Neal (knee/ankle) is
questionable against Orlando.
Meanwhile, the Magic had a two-game winning streak halted with Wednesday’s
105-96 double-overtime loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Banknorth Garden.
Grant Hill and Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 points apiece and both Tony Battie and
Dwight Howard posted double-doubles for Orlando. Battie had 13 points and 11
rebounds, while Howard was a force with 12 points and a game-high 14 boards.
The Magic will host Indiana, Minnesota, Toronto and Memphis on their
homestand, and are 21-14 at Amway Arena this season.
Friday’s game between Indiana and Orlando is the fourth and final meeting of
the regular season. The Pacers are 2-1 in the season series and have won five
of six and six of the last eight encounters.
Indiana has lost two of its last three at Orlando.