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Paul George leads Pacers to opening night win over Magic

Oct 29, 2013, 9:53 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v Indiana Pacers Getty Images

The Pacers are expected to contend for the Eastern Conference crown, while the Magic are rebuilding and have no goals beyond player development for the upcoming season.

The end result of the first game of the year reflected those expectations, as Indiana pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Orlando by a final of 97-87.

Whether due to opening night rust or slightly undervaluing their opponent, the Pacers took longer than expected to put this one away. Orlando was within a single point with six seconds remaining in the third period, before Indiana went on a 15-1 run over the next three and a half minutes or so to take control for good.

Paul George led the Pacers with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting, to go along with six rebounds, five assists, and three blocked shots. Roy Hibbert was dominant defensively, and finished with a ridiculous line of eight points, 16 rebounds, and seven blocked shots in just 27 minutes of action. He left the game late in the fourth after knocking knees and then slipping to the floor before limping off, but the Pacers later said he could have returned and he will play in his team’s next game.

On the Magic side, Andrew Nicholson made the biggest impact off the bench, scoring 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting in 19 minutes of action. Rookie of the Year candidate Victor Oladipo showed some signs in his first real NBA action, but also was victimized by the Pacers’ rim protection on more than one occasion. He finished with 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench.

Lance Stephenson had a big night in the starting lineup for the Pacers, and finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Indiana would love to get that level of production consistently out of him, but overall, the Pacers will be happy with their opening night performance, and the way they were able to pull away late to secure the team’s first victory of the season.

  1. letangusespertplus - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    on pace for 82-0

  2. antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    The Pacers took longer than expected to put this one away at home because they’re the Pacers – they of 40-some wins last year.

    The game was put away early in the 4th by Orlando Johnson, Luis Scola and Ian Mahinmi, of all people.

    • erckle31 - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:55 AM

      Please provide us with more of your objective analysis Mr. Analyst.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 4, 2013 at 1:07 AM

        Stay tuned. All be here all year.

    • davidly - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:55 AM

      49 wins is ’40-some’? Nice to know that you’ll be around to troll every Pacers’ thread this season.

      • bougin89 - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        Anti is the perfect definition of a fan that cannot win with class. He also uses opinions as facts.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        “49 wins is ’40-some’?” Uh… yeah. I don’t troll.

    • unxpexted1 - Oct 30, 2013 at 8:22 AM

      This is how the Pacers play. They aren’t the type that blows teams out. But they win consistently.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        Yeah, they’re always walking a fine line between good and average – it must be frustrating to be a Pacers fan.

    • bougin89 - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      By your definition they annihilated the Magic.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Yeah, those backups I named did.

      • bougin89 - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        Good, you agree the Pacers annihilated the Magic then.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        Yeah, the Pacers backups annihilated the Magic to start the 4th. The Pacers starters though… that’s a different story.

      • bougin89 - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        Obviously you are trolling.

        +/-‘s

        George +11
        West +11
        Hibbert +15
        Hill +5
        Stephenson +11

        I can say that the Heat’s big three weren’t all that impressive yesterday but then I would be a troll like you.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:19 PM

        Hey, don’t get mad at me because the Pacers starting 5 couldn’t put a very bad team away. The game was basically tied at the end of the third quarter (64-65 minus the technical and luck shot) – then the Pacers starters came out and their backups pushed it to a 14 point lead.

        It is what it is, m8.

      • bougin89 - Nov 1, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        Are you saying the Pacers played like the Heat against the Bulls except the starters for the Pacers played better than the starters for the Heat?

        I wouldn’t get mad about someone that’s trolling on the internet. It’s obvious you are a (front running?) Heat fan that can’t comment without showing huge bias.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 1, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        I’m saying the Pacers did not play like the Heat – they played like the Pacers.

        I’m not a Heat fan.

      • bougin89 - Nov 1, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        Interesting. Who do you back then?

      • antistratfordian - Nov 1, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        I back LeBron James.

      • bougin89 - Nov 4, 2013 at 9:41 AM

        Haha. So effectively you started backing his team during the decision. Yeah, that sums you up pretty well.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        I don’t back his team. I back LeBron James.

      • bougin89 - Nov 4, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        So you don’t have a favorite team? You pick the best player in the league and you follow him and troll all articles about his biggest challengers. This is getting even funnier.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

        This is typically what happens with international fans as well – they don’t have favorite teams, they have favorite players. I moved around so much growing up that I was never able to get attached to one city for too long – and if I ever got close to attachment I was soon gone. So I always followed my favorite players and that hasn’t changed. But it’s made me a more objective fan and and a more knowledgeable fan since I became interested in learning about every team and all sorts of players.

        And I didn’t just “pick the best player in the league.” I’ve been following LeBron since he was in high school – he was the first players I’d seen who combined Michael’s scoring and Magic’s passing and had Iverson’s swagger. But I had been arguing that LeBron is the best player in the league since 2006, and people certainly didn’t think that back then. O, the hate I would get! I have been arguing that his eventual dominance over the rest of the league was inevitable since he was 19 years old averaging 27/7/7. So it definitely isn’t a case of “picking the best player.”

        I do take some small pride in the fact that everything I was saying then has since come true. But it doesn’t end there! It’s still ongoing.

      • bougin89 - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        You mistake objective with opinionated. You say the Heat’s biggest challengers have a 0% chance this year. That makes you opinionated. I would agree the Heat are clearly the favorites, but that doesn’t mean they are a lock.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        Some players and teams just have an air of inevitability about them.

        You can objectively say that nobody else has a shot this year, and when the Heat win again who is going to argue that it wasn’t the case from the beginning? At that point you’ll just acquiesce.

      • bougin89 - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:27 PM

        That’s about as true as you saying you’re not a Heat fan.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 6, 2013 at 6:11 PM

        Okay – so then it’s true then. Great. That’s settled.

    • Rockets GM - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      And the Heat lose to the lowly Sixers… so your point is???

      • antistratfordian - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:54 PM

        The Heat are proven – we know they have what it takes. What’s your point of bringing the champs up?

  3. jhuck92 - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    Wait, there was a 3rd game tonight?

  4. unxpexted1 - Oct 30, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    I love watching Paul George play. Those were 24 effortless points. His game is smooth. Can’t wait to see what he’ll be in a couple of years.

  5. spacemaker101 - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    LANCE!

  6. felisberto - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Paul George to Lakers now.

    • Rockets GM - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      Oh, soooo sorry, just signed a BIG deal to stay in INDY and guess what??? He loves it here! Go cherry pick talent somewhere else!

  7. Rockets GM - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    The Pacers are the ONLY team in the East with a real shot at beating the Heat [would have last year if not for choking away game 1] but I digress… A rooting interest against the Pacers is basically a rooting interest FOR the Heat, regardless of your favorite team

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