Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/24

Game 1: Monday, November 24th
Game 2: Wednesday, December 17th
Game 3: Tuesday, January 6th
Game 4: Friday, March 26th

Pacers 89

(11-2, 7-0 away)

Magic 78

(1-13, 0-7 home)

Coverage: FSMW

7:00 PM ET, November 24, 2003

Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

1 2 3 4 T
IND 20 28 17 2489
ORL 20 23 13 2278

Top Performers

Ind: J. O'Neal 22 Pts, 19 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk

Orl: D. Harvey 13 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Scrappy effort falls short

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The hapless Orlando Magic put up a surprisingly strong fight against the Indiana Pacers with star player Tracy McGrady sick at home with a 103-degree fever.

Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal had 22 points and 19 rebounds, and the NBA-leading Pacers handed Orlando its 13th straight loss, winning 89-78 on Monday night.

The Magic stayed close with a scrappy, hustling effort that earned the respect of a crowd ready to roast them.

It wasn't until midway through the fourth quarter, when O'Neal's three-point play put the Pacers up 77-63, that Orlando was down for the count.

"The effort they put forth without McGrady was exceptional," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "They made the game the kind of game they had to make it to have a chance to win."

Said O'Neal: "Those guys came out and played extremely well. They had us on our heels early."

Ron Artest added 17 points and reserve Austin Croshere scored 13 of his season-high 15 in the second quarter to help Indiana extend its winning streak to five games.

Orlando is four losses short of tying its franchise-worst losing skid. That stretch was set in 1991-92, the season before the Magic drafted Shaquille O'Neal.

"Certainly we were undermanned with T-Mac not playing, but I don't think our guys conceded to the Pacers all night," said Orlando coach Johnny Davis, who was making his home debut. He replaced Doc Rivers, who was fired a week ago in the middle of an 0-5 road trip.

"If we continue to fight like that, and make some adjustments to what we're doing, I think we can get this situation turned around and begin to have some success."

Juwan Howard, returning to a starting role, scored 17 points to lead four Orlando players in double figures. Donnell Harvey had 13 points and nine rebounds in his first start of the season, and Gordan Giricek and Tyronn Lue also scored 13 points

Early on, the Magic looked nothing like the worst team in the NBA. Everything the team lacked during Rivers' final days -- interior defense, aggressive rebounding, patience in halfcourt sets -- were displayed in a half that drew no less than four standing ovations from the crowd of 13,527.

Harvey earned most of the applause, with seven points and five rebounds in the first half. His dunk early in the second quarter capped off a 10-2 run for a six-point lead, Orlando's largest of the game.

This was exactly what Carlisle feared when he warned his squad about other teams losing when opposing stars were out. Philadelphia, he noted, went into Toronto last week missing Allen Iverson, Glenn Robinson and Derrick Coleman but still beat the Raptors. Three nights later, New York beat the 76ers despite injuries to Keith Van Horn and Allan Houston.

"This was a dangerous game and if we didn't respect this opponent, we were going to lose," Carlisle said.

But the Magic soon proved their losing streak is no fluke, repeatedly losing Croshere inside and out. His 3-pointer and unmolested driving dunk kicked off a 12-4 run late in the second quarter, and the Pacers led 48-43 at the break.

Croshere was 6-for-9, 3-of-5 on 3-pointers.

"Croshere went and hit some shots, and that gave us a burst of energy," Carlisle said. "Then he continued that energy on the defensive end. It's great when you have guys like that sitting on your bench ready to play."

The fans' reaction to Rivers' firing was mixed. Davis received only a lukewarm ovation during introductions, and the boosters' signs showed a confusion over whom to blame for the team's troubles. One sign thanked Magic general manager John Gabriel for axing the embattled coach, but others supported Rivers while calling for the removal of Gabriel and team chief operating officer John Weisbrod.

Game notes

Indiana matched its franchise best with its seventh straight road win, dating to last season. ... Including the preseason and last season's playoffs, Orlando has lost 23 of 25 games -- including 12 straight at home. ... Indiana has won six of its last eight games against Orlando. ... Orlando's opponents entered the game shooting a league-best 79.5 percent from the foul line. Indiana shot 66.7 percent (16-of-24). ... The Magic had played eight straight games against Western Conference opponents before facing the Pacers. ... New Orleans guard Darrell Armstrong was in attendance. Armstrong played nine seasons with the Magic before leaving as a free agent last offseason.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 89 78
FGM-FGA 34-82 (.415) 32-75 (.427)
3PM-3PA 5-14 (.357) 1-6 (.167)
FTM-FTA 16-24 (.667) 13-21 (.619)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-46 8-36
Assists 13 13
Turnovers 9 11
Steals 7 4
Blocks 7 8
Fast Break Points 4 0
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 23 (0/0)

Top Performers

Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 22
Reb: 19
Ast: 3
Stl: 0
Blk: 1
Donnell Harvey Harvey
Points: 13
Reb: 9
Ast: 1
Stl: 1
Blk: 2