Magic vs. Pacers Preview: Howard Goes For Magic Scoring Record
The Pacers (11-4) and Magic (11-5) are two of best surprises in the NBA this season. The Pacers enter the game against the Magic tonight fresh off a win in Los Angeles against Kobe and the Lakers, while the Magic come in fresh off an embarrassing loss to the wounded Celtics in Boston.
The Indiana Pacers are off to their best start in eight seasons at 11-4, however only four of their wins have come against teams above .500. They’ve beaten the Cavaliers, Charlotte, Detroit, New Jersey, Golden State and Toronto twice en route to their quickest start since opening 13-2 in 2003-04.
The Pacers have played only five home games thus far, which ties them with Cleveland for the NBA’s fewest. Tonight the Pacers try to open 6-0 at home for the first time since 2002-03.
The Orlando Magic will present a much tougher challenge for the Pacers after what happened to them last night in Boston. Despite having two days of rest since defeating the Lakers 92-80 on Friday, Orlando set franchise lows for points, field goals and field goal percentage in an 87-56 loss at Boston. The Magic only made 16 field goals in the game as they shot only 24% from the field. Ouch!
Though he fells eight points shy of passing Nick Anderson to become the Magic’s all-time scoring, Dwight Howard recorded his fourth consecutive double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds. He looked bad on his shots last night, but so did the entire team. Don’t expect that type of performance this evening as he becomes the Magic’s all-time scoring leader.
Howard has posted 14 straight double-doubles versus Indiana with the Magic winning 11 of those contests, including all three in 2010-11.
Indiana will likely put Roy Hibbert on Howard in tonight’s game. If Roy Hibbert can’t contain Howard, the Pacers will need help down low from West and Tyler Hansbrough. That trio is combining for 20.7 points and 35.7 rebounds per game.
The road ahead could get a little more difficult for Indiana, which faces a three-game road trip at NBA-leading Chicago, Boston and the Magic after this contest.