Game Preview: Indiana Pacers @ Orlando Magic

Indiana (23-15, lost last three) @ Orlando (26-15, won last one)

Key Stats

Orlando

* 93.93 points per game (23rd in the NBA) vs. 91.68 points allowed per game (5th)

Mar 8, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) blocks the shot of Chicago Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer (5) during the second half at the United Center. The Magic won 99-94. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

* 43.8% FG (14th) vs. 43.4% FG allowed (10th)

* 43.44 rpg (8th) vs. 41.90 rebounds allowed (14th)

*20.44 apg (17th) vs. 15.22 TO pg (21st)

Indiana

* 95.13 ppg (15th) vs. 92.16 points allowed (8th)

* 42.7% FG (26th) vs. 42.8% FG allowed (8th)

* 43.84 rppg (4th) vs. 43.13 rebounds allowed (21st)

* 17.9 appg (30th) vs. 14.5 TO pg (11th)

Position-by-position Matchups

PG-Darren Collison vs. Jameer Nelson

SG-Paul George vs. Jason Richardson

SF-Danny Granger vs. Hedo Turkoglu

PF-David West vs. Ryan Anderson

C-Roy Hibbert vs. Dwight Howard

Key Reserves

Orlando-Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick, Glen Davis

Indiana-Tyler Hansbrough, A.J. Price, Dahntay Jones, George Hill

Injuries of note

Orlando-Jason Richardson (ankle, day-to-day)

Indiana-Jeff Foster (back, out), George Hill (shoulder, game time decision)

Breakdown:

The Pacers have handled Orlando on the road, but struggled with them at home thus far, losing twice at Banker’s Life Field House. So tonight’s game at the Amway Center may complete the somewhat backwards pattern the two teams have been on this year, with each team sweeping the other on the road. After an excruciating near-miss last night in OT vs. the Heat, Indiana has little time to breathe and collect itself before tonight’s tilt with an Orlando team with whom they are in direct competition for playoff seeding.

Dwight Howard has been up and down vs. the Pacers, but he was brilliant last Thursday in a road win vs. the Bulls. Howard put up a 29/18 double-double, hitting 7-10 free throws and 11-19 shots. Howard and the rest of the Magic have had some time to rest, and will get the Pacers at their most emotional, following a truly heartbreaking loss, and will look to take advantage.

George Hill missed last night’s game, and may not go tonight. The Magic, while not as deep as Indiana, is not really suffering on the injury front, aside from Jason Richardson (ankle) who may play. Orlando is underachieving this season, to some degree, and the Pacers are skilled enough to hang with them, even in back-to-back situations.

Prediction: Magic 95, Pacers 91
I’m calling for another upsetting, extremely close loss for Indiana before heading home for two games vs. Portland and Philadelphia at the beginning of this coming week.

Fantasy Outlook:

Still nothing surprising out of these squads. If Richardson plays he busted his slump on Thursday with four threes and 18 points. If he’s out though, Redick may have an opportunity for big minutes, which will make him valuable.

Lucas Klipsch FTW. Follow him on Twitter @LukeNukem317

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