The Orlando Magic began the season with hopes and aspirations of a playoff birth. These hopes were officially shut down last weekend when they were mathematically eliminated from the playoff equation.
This didn’t stop the young Magic team from giving their best to Paul George and the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. With a 114-94 victory, the Pacers are in bad shape in regards to making the playoffs. That puts them at a 2 – loss streak, and 8th place in the conference standings. They’re now on the down swing with the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards in the hunt for the last playoff spot that the Pacers currently are barely holding on to.
The Magic on the other hand, despite being out of contention are performing like a playoff team. Capturing their first win in Indiana in 4 years, the Magic were confident and poised in the face of team that they hadn’t beat in 6 straight meetings. Led by Evan Fournier with 25 pts, he shot an efficient 10-14 from the field, including 3-5 three-pointers. Nikola Vucevic made his return, coming off the bench with 24 pts in 25 minutes of play, shooting 12-15 with 6 rebounds.
The Pacers kept up until towards the end of the 3rd Quarter when Fournier took control, finishing the period by putting Orlando up 89-79. The Magic would go on to maintain that lead throughout the 4th quarter, finishing at 114-94.
This performance bodes well for the rising stock of the Magic in addition to the cap space clear out they went through a month ago. A big free agent addition will help push them into the playoffs in the 2016-2017 season.
Winning the last three games, respectively over the Bulls, Nets, and Pacers. Coach Skiles said “… clearly, in the last three games we’ve played like a playoff team…” following Thursday’s victory.