Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers Pick & Prediction MARCH 10th 2024

Two teams battling for Eastern Conference playoff position meet when the Orlando Magic face the visiting Indiana Pacers on Sunday.

Both teams are looking to bounce back from disappointing losses. Orlando had its five-game winning streak snapped in a 98-74 road defeat to the New York Knicks on Friday, while Indiana fell 113-111 at home Thursday to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Orlando was held to the lowest points total in the NBA this season in the loss to the Knicks, who limited the Magic to 34.2 percent shooting from the field and 23.1 percent from 3-point range.

“This is exactly what the playoffs will be like,” Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said. “That’s exactly what we would want and that’s exactly what we will embrace.

“There’s no excuses about it. You have to give New York a ton of credit for the way in which they played.”

Paolo Banchero averages 22.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists to lead Orlando, which holds the fifth seed in the East standings. The Magic are 10 games over .500 despite battling a string of injuries throughout the season.

Mosley pointed to the team’s depth after guard Jalen Suggs missed Friday’s game due to a right thigh contusion. Suggs is listed as day-to-day.

“This team is deep,” Mosley said. “Our ability to (have) guys step in no matter what’s happening because we’ve had injuries throughout the year – which every NBA team does – it allows guys to gain experience in each moment.

“The comfort level of having whoever we call on, being able to be ready to step into that moment, you feel good as a team being able to do that.”

Orlando has won its two previous meetings against Indiana this season, including a 117-110 victory in Indianapolis on Dec. 23.

The Pacers rallied from a 17-point, first-half deficit before losing to Minnesota on Thursday. Indiana has struggled with slow starts all season, and that trend continued against the Wolves.

“This is where a young team has to learn, grow and get better,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “We just didn’t have the attitude you need to have against a physical, high-level team like this. We paid a heavy price for it.

“Halftime was pretty animated. We talked about physicality. But it can’t be just when you get punched in the mouth. We have to learn from it. Nothing is given. Everything has to be earned.”

Pascal Siakam scored 24 points and Tyrese Haliburton added 23 points and 13 assists for Indiana, which is in eighth place in the East.

The Pacers received tough news Saturday when it was learned guard Bennedict Mathurin will have season-ending shoulder surgery next week, according to the team. Indiana will miss his 14.5 points, four rebounds and two assists per game. Mathurin shot 44.6 percent from the field and 37.4 perfect from 3-point range this season.

Siakam has been a welcome addition since being acquired from the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 17. The two-time All-Star has scored 20 or more points in six of his last nine games.

“I always feel like when things get a little stagnant or we need an answer, I feel like I can always get something going,” Siakam said. “I can always get a shot going down the floor especially when we need a bucket.”

-Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping