Ryan's Place

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Magic Lose Final Game to Pacers 83-89



From Sportsline.com:

Orlando (36-46) finished the season with two straight losses after an eight-game winning streak. The Magic won 16 of their final 22 games after a slow start to give them slight playoff hopes entering the final weeks of the season.

Carlos Arroyo scored 17 points, Keyon Dooling added 15 and Trevor Ariza had season highs of 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic.

The Pacers held Dwight Howard in check. Orlando's top scorer and rebounder had averaged 21.2 points and 15.8 rebounds in his last five games, but he was limited to 10 points and seven boards.

Orlando missed 11 of its first 12 shots, and Indiana held the Magic to 5-for-21 shooting from the field in the first quarter as the Pacers led 23-13 at the end of the period. The fact that Orlando was out of the playoff hunt might have contributed to its lackluster start.

"It was definitely an empty feeling coming into the game knowing we had no chance for the playoffs," Howard said. "My heart really sank."

The Magic cut Indiana's lead to 41-37 at halftime. O'Neal had 11 points and nine rebounds at the break.

Orlando got within 45-43 early in the third quarter, but the Pacers responded with a 9-2 run that included five points from Jackson to pull ahead 57-47 midway through the period.

The Pacers led 72-58 at the end of the third quarter, but Orlando cut Indiana's lead to 87-83 on a layup by Arroyo with 1:34 left. The Magic failed to score on their final three possessions.

Orlando is looking forward to next season with a young nucleus that starts with Howard.

"I can't wait," Howard said. "Everybody on this team is a hard worker, and I'm sure they're going to work to get better as individuals."

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