Ross scores 30 as Magic hand Pacers 4th straight loss
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — After making his first All-Star team earlier in the day, Nikola Vucevic delivered another solid performance for the Orlando Magic.
Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers are struggling without their own All-Star as Victor Oladipo recovers from knee surgery.
Terrence Ross scored 13 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, Vucevic added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and the Magic beat Indiana 107-100 on Thursday night to hand the Pacers their fourth straight loss.
“When you lose your best player,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said, “your world changes.”
D.J. Augustin scored 20 points for the Magic, including nine straight free throws in the final 1:26. Orlando broke a four-game losing streak and snapped an eight-game skid against Indiana.
Myles Turner had 27 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who haven’t won since Oladipo went down during a victory against Toronto on Jan. 23. It was their first loss at Orlando in almost five years.
“I thought we played harder than in the previous games,” said Darren Collison, who had 16 points and 10 assists. “I thought we got back to ourselves tonight and we made up for missing some open shots. But we still had some inexcusable mental lapses down the stretch, including me. We have to figure out a way to get out of this slump.”
The long-term loss of Oladipo and the short-term loss of Tyreke Evans were obviously weighing on the Pacers.
“You’re talking about something you have developed over the course of a year and a half and all of a sudden, that piece is missing,” coach Nate McMillan said. “We’re not panicking, even though it seems like everybody else is.”
Ross came off the bench and shot 11 of 18, including five 3-pointers. He made three steals in the fourth quarter.
Vucevic scored six points while the Magic were taking an 11-0 lead. The Pacers erased that deficit quickly, but never went ahead until Collison drove for a layup and three-point play with 9:56 left in the third quarter. That came during a 17-4 run in which Turner scored 10 points, lifting Indiana to a 65-57 lead, its largest of the game.
Ross converted two straight steals into points to pull Orlando back in front early in the fourth, and Vucevic’s basket put the Magic ahead for good at 91-89 with 5:08 left.
Augustin followed with a 3-pointer and clinched the victory for Orlando at the foul line.
Vucevic was selected Thursday to his first All-Star Game in his eighth NBA season. He was chosen as an Eastern Conference reserve, becoming the Magic’s first All-Star since Dwight Howard in 2012.
“This is really an emotional night for me,” Vucevic said. “It’s hard to describe when you put so much work into it for so many years and then it finally pays off. That is really satisfying. My teammates and coaches share just as much credit for this.”
Vucevic is averaging 20.6 points and 12 rebounds per game.
“He does it every single night, no matter what,” Augustin said. “That’s why he’s an All-Star. A lot of guys can’t do that every night.”
STILL THE ONE
Oladipo was picked as an All-Star reserve even though he won’t be able to play in the game.
“I talked to some coaches and they basically said they were going to vote the right way, and the right way was they felt he was an All-Star and they kept their word,” McMillan said. “They have a great deal of respect for how he plays and how this team has played this season.”
Pacers: Evans missed his third game with a sore back. He will join the team in Miami and hopes to play Saturday. ... G Corey Joseph started his first game of the season. ... After posting the NBA’s best record in December, the Pacers went 7-7 in January.
Magic: F Jonathan Isaac had a career-high 13 rebounds. ... Ross has made at least three 3-pointers in 24 games.
Pacers: At the Miami Heat on Saturday night.
Magic: Home against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.