It marks the first meeting of the season between Orlando and Indiana, who both remain on the outside looking in with regard to the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Magic have lost six straight games to the Pacers — their last win at Indiana came in 2019 — and 25 of the last 30 overall.
The game also will feature four players selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge on Feb. 18: Orlando rookies Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs, Indiana rookie Chris Duarte and Magic second-year guard Cole Anthony.
The Rising Stars Competition will be part of the 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend in Cleveland. The participant list was announced on Tuesday as four teams of rookies, sophomores and G League Ignite players will square off in a three-game tournament.
Wagner, the eighth overall pick in the 2021 Draft and the only Magic player to appear in all 52 games this season, was asked about the possibility of multiple Orlando players being named to the Rising Stars roster.
“I think it would just speak to the talent we have on the team, and obviously it’s all young players that play in the Rising Stars games,” he said. “So, it would be super cool to share that experience with my teammates.”
Orlando tipped off its 11th back-to-back of the season on Tuesday with a 126-115 loss to the host Chicago Bulls. Wendell Carter Jr. had 24 points and eight rebounds and Wagner scored 22 points, but the Magic could not extend their season-best two-game winning streak.
The Magic, who were coming off an encouraging five-game homestand that produced wins over the Bulls as well as Detroit and Dallas, were outscored 11-0 by Chicago down the stretch. The Magic did not score again after Carter’s 10-foot jumper knotted the score at 115 with 5:34 left.
Orlando is 1-9 playing the second game of a back-to-back this season. Meanwhile, Indiana had a day off after opening its current homestand with a 122-116 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.
Coach Rick Carlisle recorded his 200th win with the Pacers, who are 4-4 in their last eight games.
Isaiah Jackson’s first career start resulted in 26 points and 10 rebounds — both career highs — for his first double-double. Indiana rookies Duane Washington Jr., Terry Taylor, Duarte and Jackson combined for 65 points and 27 rebounds as the Pacers improved their home record to 13-13.
“I think it was just communication, just being locked in and just playing to the end,” Jackson said after practice on Tuesday. “We know we won’t get many opportunities, so we’re just trying to use them and do the best we can with them.”
Caris LeVert (17 points) scored in double figures for the 21st consecutive game as Indiana contends with a long list of health-related issues. LeVert also contributed nine assists and seven rebounds.
Leading scorer and rebounder Domantas Sabonis entered the league’s health and safety protocol on Monday. Goga Bitadze (foot) and Oshae Brissett (ankle) are both questionable against Orlando. Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles), T.J. McConnell (wrist surgery), Myles Turner (foot) and T.J. Warren (foot) all remain out.
–Field Level Media
Source: Yahoo Sports