ORLANDO, Fla. — Rookie guard Victor Oladipo scored 23 points and sparked a fourth-quarter turnaround, leading the Orlando Magic to a 93-92 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night.
The Magic (16-37) erased a 17-point, third-quarter deficit in beating the Pacers, who have the best record in NBA. On Friday, Orlando also came from 17 points down to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have the best record in the Western Conference.
Indiana forward Paul George scored a game-high 27 points, but he missed a jumper in the final seconds that could have won the game.
Magic center Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Orlando forward Tobias Harris added 13 points.
Guard Lance Stephenson had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers (39-11).
The Magic never trailed after Oladipo hit a jumper with 7:10 remaining for the 80-79 lead, but they needed a defensive stand at the end to hang onto the victory.
Oladipo sparked the fourth-quarter charge with a three-point play and then a 3-point basket. He had 12 points in first six minutes of the fourth quarter, helping turn a 10-point deficit into an 86-79 lead.
Vucevic had nine points and seven rebounds in the third period, but the Magic couldn’t cut into the deficit. The Pacers led by as many as 17 points in the third but only 10 going into the final period.
The Pacers led 52-43 at halftime, riding a fast start by George, who hit five of his six shots in the opening quarter. Stephenson led everyone with 14 points in the first half and hit two of his three shots from 3-point range.
The Magic made a 15-4 run midway through the first quarter for a 25-17 lead. Guard Jameer Nelson hit two 3-pointers to spark the surge.
The Pacers regained the lead late in the first quarter, then limited the Magic to just 15 points in the second quarter, building the nine-point cushion at intermission. Vucevic had 10 points and four rebounds by halftime.
NOTES: Pacers G Lance Stephenson returned to the lineup Sunday after missing Friday’s victory over the Portland Trail Blazers with a lower back strain. In one game earlier this season against the Magic, Stephenson had 12 rebounds and was instrumental in the Pacers’ crushing the Magic around the boards. … As much as any team, the Magic are well aware of how good the Pacers are defensively. In the two previous games against them, the Magic shot just 39.2 percent combined. … Pacers coach Frank Vogel credits the mental approach for why his team has been so good this season after losing in the conference finals last spring to the Heat. “This group, I think, is more focused than most teams,” Vogel said. “They realize how close we came last year. You might only get this close once in your career. They know they’re dealing with what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” … G Jameer Nelson, the subject of considerable trade talk, is just the second player in Magic history to wear the team jersey for 10 seasons. … The Magic won for the sixth time in their past seven home games, but they have the league’s worst road record (3-23).
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