Indiana hits the road for its next two games and five of its next six starting with Friday night’s matchup against the Magic in Orlando.
And that might be a good thing for the Pacers.
Indiana won for only the second time in its last 11 home games on Wednesday, beating the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves 141-137.
Injuries to Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner have contributed to the Pacers’ most recent struggles.
The Holiday brothers helped Indiana survive Minnesota as Aaron finished with 22 points and Justin had 21 points. Each helped the Pacers shoot 59.1 percent overall.
“It was a tribute to how we were playing together and playing fast,” Justin Holiday said. “Hopefully when we get everybody back, we can continue to do this.”
Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren said Sabonis, who has missed the past three games with sprained left ankle, and Brogdon (hip) — out for the past four games — could return within the next few days. Turner (ankle) might be out longer.
The Pacers beat the Magic 120-118 in overtime on Jan. 22 in Indianapolis in their lone meeting so far this season. Brogdon had a team-high 23 points in that game and hit a game-clinching three-pointer with 2.8 seconds left in overtime.
On Wednesday, Aaron Holiday shot 6-for-8 from the field including 4-for-4 from 3-point range. He and T.J. McConnell’s 19 points and 15 assists helped the Pacers bench outscore the Timberwolves’ reserves 69-44.
“Credit everyone who played tonight,” McConnell said. “They came in ready.”
The Magic are starting to get healthier with rookie Cole Anthony returning from injury and Michael Carter-Williams back from a non-COVID-19 illness during a 131-116 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
Carter-Williams and Anthony each had 13 points. Anthony returned after a 25-game absence and also had seven assists.
“I thought he did a lot of good things,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said. “I thought he would struggle more with the conditioning part, but I actually thought he got through it well.”
Anthony’s injury was first diagnosed as a strained shoulder, but later ruled a rib fracture.
“I was just excited when we found out what it was because there was a week where we just didn’t know what was wrong with me, and I was in a lot of pain,” Anthony said. “Once we found out, I just kind of ran out and told everybody.”
Terrence Ross’ 24 points and backup center Mo Bamba’s career-high 19 points led Orlando. But the Magic couldn’t contain hot-shooting Washington, which shot 57.6 percent from the field and 52.8 percent from 3-point range with Bradley Beal back in its lineup and Russell Westbrook recording his 20th triple-double of the season.
The Magic, who revamped their roster at the trade deadline, have lost three in a row and 16 of their past 20 games.
“They had us spread out, and the majority of their shots they made were in-rhythm shots for good shooters and they’re going to make those,” Clifford said.
Gary Harris, who hasn’t played since Feb. 17 because of an adductor strain, returned to practice on Tuesday.
According to The Athletic, the Magic plan to waive center Khem Birch.
–Field Level Media