Following a resounding In-Season Tournament win against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, the Indiana Pacers had an uncharacteristic five days of rest before their next game - a home matchup against the Orlando Magic.
With this extended time off, many expected the Pacers to either come out of the gates strong and well-rested or be extremely rusty after taking all that time off. This matchup against Orlando also had an extra layer onto it, given that the Pacers were the number-one ranked offense and the Magic were the number-one defense coming into the game.
Given this information, many were expecting an exciting matchup that would come down to the wire and showcase the strengths and weaknesses of both teams.
Unfortunately, the sold-out Indiana crowd witnessed less of an equally balanced contest and more of a 48-minute clobbering. The Pacers allowed the Magic to jump out to an 11-0 start and trailed by 19 at halftime, conceding a staggering 42 first-quarter points, double Indiana's 21.
The Magic dominated the entire game, extending their lead to 34 by halftime. Despite the Pacers cutting it to as little as 11 in the fourth quarter, the Magic won the game 128-116 without breaking a sweat. At the end of the evening, the Magic walked away with a 12-point win that everyone knew was far more dominant than what the stat sheet suggested.
An entire book could be written about what the Pacers could have done better, but I have narrowed it down to two things and miraculously even found one positive in the bunch. Without further ado, here's what went wrong for Indiana in what, in my opinion, was their worst loss of the season so far.