INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- The Indiana Pacers are looking to get a home win against a short-handed Orlando Magic team tonight. Orlando will be without Jason Smith and Nikola Vucevic. The Pacers are looking to get the bitter taste of defeat out of their mouths from yesterday's road loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Indiana failed to execute late in the game and lost, 101-97.
Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles did not play in the Pacers' last game, but they might play in tonight's game. Both players are listed as questionable. However, it is more likely for Miles to play tonight than it would be Stuckey. Indiana seemed to give Monta Ellis and George Hill more minutes while Stuckey was injured. Indiana has also given Glenn Robinson III some minutes in place of C.J. Miles. Also, Chase Budinger has seen an increased amount of minutes due to his injury.
Orlando will be without their starting and backup center (Nikola Vucevic and Jason Smith) tonight. So expect to see a lot of Dewayne Dedmon since he is their only true center active for this game. Orlando could decide to use an extra small-ball lineup out of necessity whenever Dedmon is in foul trouble or needs a break. This is an area that the Pacers should look to exploit tonight with the post game of Myles Turner. It could be dangerous for the Magic if Turner fakes Dedmon and forces him into foul trouble.
There has been no indication of what rotation that the Pacers will be using, but it is most likely that they will use a small-ball lineup that features George at power forward. Indiana has George defend small forwards and has their small forward defend power forwards. This is why C.J. Miles is important to have for tonight because he can hold his own against Tobias Harris. The Pacers would almost be forced to use their big lineup if Miles cannot play. So if Miles doesn't play it is most likely that the Pacers will use a traditional lineup.
Since the Magic do not have dynamic players at power forward or center, the Pacers could look to use their traditional lineup to cause matchup problems for the Magic. The Magic are projected to start; Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, Tobias Harris, and Dewayne Dedmon. A starting lineup of George Hill, Monta Ellis, Paul George, Jordan Hill, and Ian Mahinmi could cause problems in every category for the Magic.
Paul George would have a massive miss-match basically all game at small forward. Jordan Hill will have a miss-match all day at power forward as well. Myles Turner, off the bench, will have a miss-match against anyone he faces today too. George Hill and Monta Ellis won't have an easy time getting past Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo, but both players should be able to have a solid outing. On paper, if the Pacers play like they should, this shouldn't be a difficult game at all. The Pacers have advantages in almost every regard today, so it should come down to personal execution.
Paul George is approaching a milestone in Pacers franchise history that he could very well accomplish tonight. Last game, George's three three-pointers put him in a tie with Bill Keller for third all-time in made three-pointers in franchise history. George now has 506 made three-pointers in his career, as he needs one more to take over the third spot in franchise history. That should be no problem with the way that George has been shooting the ball lately.
Indiana has had a great deal of success against the Magic. The Pacers have won four consecutive games against the Orlando Magic. The Pacers have even won eight of their last nine meetings with Orlando. This success appears like it should continue for the Pacers. Indiana is looking to get back to a .500 record again, as they are 3-4 on the season, so a win tonight would be big for their confidence.
Pacers star Paul George has been playing as well as anyone in the league in his past three games. George is averaging 30.3 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists over the past three. His 94 points in the past three games is the most that he has ever scored in a three-game stretch in his entire career.
Many people have been saying that Paul George is back, but in reality, he is better than he has ever been. Monta Ellis has been playing well lately as well, as he is coming off of his first 20-plus point game as a Pacer. Paul George (32) and Monta Ellis (25) provided big time scoring relief for the Pacers' offense last game against the Cavs.
Tonight's game tips off at 7:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Fox Sports Indiana will be on the television broadcast. Radio broadcast for local area Indianapolis listeners can be found on 93.5 FM of 1070 AM. Out of market viewers can watch this game using NBA League Pass.