The Orlando Magic solved the Indiana Pacers’ defense just fine, especially in the fourth quarter behind Terrence Ross, and made their first trip this season to Bankers Life Fieldhouse a memorable one.
Nikola Vucevic finished with a game-high 27 points and Ross had 23 points as the Magic rallied to beat the Indiana Pacers 117-112 on Saturday night in Indianapolis.
Evan Fournier sealed the Magic’s 13th road victory of the season with a 3-pointer over Bojan Bogdanovic with 8.4 seconds left to play.“Obviously it wasn’t cheap nba jerseys from china our defense that won. We played well offensively,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “T-Ross got going with shot-making, and obviously the shot Evan hit was a big-time shot.”
With the victory, the Magic (30-34) moved back into a tie with the Charlotte Hornets (29-33) for eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Magic are 1.5 games behind the seventh-place Detroit Pistons (30-31) and the sixth-place Brooklyn Nets (32-33).
The Pistons rolled past the host Cavaliers 129-93 while the Nets were beaten 117-88 by the host Heat on Saturday.
The Hornets were idle.
Fournier missed Friday’s practice as he dealt with a stomach issue but felt better on Saturday. He was still somewhat of a question mark for the game before going through the team’s morning shootaround without any problems.
And there he was, with the ball in his hands as the Magic held a two-point lead with 29.7 seconds to go.
“When you have a mid pick-and-roll like that, usually it turns into a jump shot,” Fournier said. “Rarely do you get to the rim. I knew it was going to be a jump shot.
“I had a look that I liked.”
He dribbled the clock down to about 12 seconds, then worked his way toward the 3-point line. From there, Fournier brushed Bogdanovic off a screen set by Vucevic. It was enough to throw Bogdanovic slightly off balance. Fournier began to dribble to his right before hesitating to slow Bogdanovic even further, then quickly pulled up to shoot.
The ball kissed the bottom of the net.
The Magic had the cushion they needed.
“It’s just the most enjoyable thing you can have in basketball, hit a clutch shot and then win the game,” Fournier said.
Fournier finished with 19 points, one of five Magic players in double figures, and eight assists.
Jonathan Isaac had 12 points and eight rebounds while Aaron Gordon finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
But it was Ross who once again fueled another fourth-quarter comeback.
The Magic’s “Human Torch,” Ross scored 11 points in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s comeback win against the Golden State Warriors.
He was even better on Saturday.
He scored 16 of his points in the fourth quarter as the Magic outscored the Pacers 34-25 to erase a 10-point deficit they fell into in the third quarter.
“It’s funny because it comes out of nowhere. He has five points and he’s not hitting shots and all of a sudden the Human Torch comes in,” Fournier said. “It’s such a big part of what we do. When T-Ross comes into the game and makes shots, it just changes the whole momentum for us. He was a huge part of the win tonight.”
The Magic shot 50.5 percent overall but 54.5 percent in the fourth quarter, with Ross going 5-for-9. Fournier was 2-for-2, with both shots being 3-pointers.
“It’s not easy, but I thought we had better player movement,” Clifford said. “We had some good drive and kick plays, which led to some spot-ups, which against them is not easy. They’re so well-coached and they’re so good defensively.”
Ross’ three-point play gave the Magic a 100-98 lead they never relinquished, and he later threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk to make it 109-102 with 3:23 to play.
It was a wild flurry from there.
The Magic seemed in control up 111-104 before Wesley Matthews was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws. Ross did the same on the Magic’s next possession.
After Darren Collison hit a pull-up 3, Thaddeus Young stripped the ball away from Fournier on the ensuing inbounds pass. Young quickly found a cutting Myles Turner for a layup that trimmed the lead to 114-112.
That set up Fournier’s clutch shot.
The Magic are now 2-1 against the Pacers (41-23) this season. Their Jan. 31 victory in Orlando snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Pacers, currently the No. 3 team in the East.
Bogdanovic finished with 25 points and Collison had 23 for the Pacers, who led 72-62 early in the third quarter.
The Pacers worked the Magic over for much of the game with their pick-and-roll game. When it wasn’t Collison working off the screen for jumpers, he was passing to the open screener. The Pacers shot at least 50 percent in each of the first three quarters.
But the Magic began to get stops in the fourth quarter, as they did Thursday against the Warriors.
The Pacers were 9-of-20 from the floor and scored 25 points in the period — their lowest quarter output of the game.