Magic pull out all tricks to pull away from Pacers 114-94

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Orlando Magic have suddenly figured out the trick to winning.

Shoot well, defend better, share the ball and stay energized. On Thursday, the plan worked again.

Evan Fournier scored 25 points and Nikola Vucevic added 24 after returning from a 13-game absence, leading the Magic past the Pacers 114-94 -- for their first victory at Indiana in more than four years.

"You look like an elite team," coach Scott Skiles said of what happens when teams bring positive energy to the court. "There's always an ebb and flow to the season and sometimes we look really good for a few games and then we don't. The point you want to get to is that you're the same (team) every day."

Whatever changed, Orlando looks much more competitive after being eliminated from the playoff chase.

Since snapping a six-game losing streak, it has won three straight, the last two impressively.

Two nights after scoring 139 points and shooting 61.5 percent from the field, both season highs, the Magic shot 53.3 percent including 14 of 19 in the third quarter and beat the Pacers on their home court for the first time since Feb. 4, 2012. Fournier and Vucevic were a combined 22 of 29 from the field.

"We are playing with a lot of confidence right now, but it's a little too late," Fournier said. "Tonight, it was all about defense. We held that team to 94 points, that's pretty good."

The Pacers were not good, though.

While Paul George finished with 27 points and eight rebounds, and Lavoy Allen had 12 points and 11 rebounds, Indiana never led over the final 41:50 and only tied the score twice.

And that came on a night the Pacers couldn't afford to lose after sliding into the final playoff spot in the East. This loss leaves the Pacers one game behind seventh-place Detroit and just one game ahead of the ninth-place Bulls, who won 103-100 at Houston on Thursday.

"It is in our hands and we have to win games against teams like Orlando," George said. "We can't have losses like these."

They didn't have a choice Thursday.

The Magic took control with a 7-0 second-quarter run that made it 53-41. Indiana rallied to tie the score at 62 early in the third, but Victor Oladipo broke the tie with a 3-pointer that sent Orlando on a 14-5 run to make it 76-67 with 3:56 to go.

Orlando spent the rest of the game pulling away.


Orlando had 26 assists Thursday, giving the Magic 66 in the last two games, and outscored the Pacers 25-17 on turnovers, after forcing 19.


George promised to return from his broken right leg better than ever. He's proving it every night. After becoming the first Pacers player to top the 40-point mark three times in one season, the three-time All-Star has now set a career high for points with 1,757 this season and needs two more 3s to become the second Pacers player to make 200 in a season. He's four 3-point attempts away from breaking Reggie Miller's single-season franchise record (529), set in 1996-97, and his point total is now No. 4 on Indiana's single-season list.


Indiana finishes the season with home games against Cleveland, Brooklyn and New York and road games against Philadelphia, Toronto and Milwaukee. Chicago hosts Detroit, Cleveland and Philadelphia and travels to Milwaukee, Memphis, Miami and New Orleans.


Magic: Snapped a six-game road losing streak. ... Oladipo had 18 points and two steals, leaving him 16 points and three steals short of becoming the third NBA player since 1985-86 to start his career with three straight seasons of 1,100 points, 110 steals and 70 3s. ... Andrew Nicholson had 11 points and Elfrid Payton had 10.

Pacers: Had won seven straight and 11 of the previous 12 games in this series. ... Ian Mahinmi finished with six points, ending his three-game streak of scoring at least 18 points. ... Backup guard Rodney Stuckey left in the first half after hurting his left wrist on a charge. He returned in the second half. ... The 20-point loss was Indiana's third-worst at home this season.


Magic: Travel to Milwaukee on Friday.

Pacers: Visit Philadelphia on Saturday.