It was Swat City Central in Bankers Life Fieldhouse Tuesday as the Pacers kick started the season with a 97-87 home-opening win over the Orlando Magic.
The team posted 18 blocks, one shy of tying a franchise record, and was led by center Roy Hibbert who had seven in addition to eight points and 16 rebounds.
Though a deeper and more experienced team, the Pacers struggled early against a young Orlando squad privy to running and gunning. After getting out to a 12-0 lead early in the first quarter, turnovers, poor offensive execution and an 18-point burst from Orlando forward Andrew Nicholson had the Pacers facing a 44-40 deficit at halftime.
But Indiana rediscovered their defensive identify in the second half and limited Orlando to 36 percent shooting.
The Pacers also slowed the tempo by getting to the foul line often; attempting 25 free throws to Orlando's seven after halftime – a testament to the team's height advantage.
Paul George,who recently signed a 5-year contract extension, led the team in scoring with 24 points while shooting a superb 50 percent from the field – including 3-of-6 from long range.
Other contributors came from the revamped second which was among the worst in the league a season ago. Second-year guard Orlando Johnson scored nine points while backup forward Luis Scola added eight.
The victory spoiled the debut for Orlando rookie and former IU basketball standout Victor Oladipo – who scored 12 points 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 23 minutes off the bench.
The Pacers were without Danny Granger,who is out three weeks with a calf injury.