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Pacers 97, Magic 87

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George had 24 points, six rebounds and five assists to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Orlando Magic 97-87 on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.

Lance Stephenson scored 19 points, Roy Hibbert had eight points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks, and David West added 13 points and five blocks for Indiana, which has championship aspirations after falling to Miami in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

Andrew Nicholson scored 18 points and Maurice Harkless added 14 for Orlando. First-round draft pick Victor Oladipo had 12 points and Jameer Nelson added 12 points and seven assists for the Magic.

Indiana led 69-64 at the end of the third quarter, then dominated the fourth. Orlando made just two field goals in the first five minutes of the final quarter. By then, Indiana's lead was 86-71. Indiana's reserves scored all 17 points during that run, including six each from Luis Scola and Orlando Johnson.

The Pacers, known last season for their outstanding defense, opened the game on a 12-0 run. Orlando didn't score for almost four minutes and missed its first six shots. The Pacers led 23-18 at the end of the first quarter.

Orlando rallied behind Nicholson. He scored 18 points in the first half to help the Magic take a 44-40 lead at the break. Hibbert had eight points, 15 rebounds and four blocks in the first half, but the Pacers negated the effort by committing 12 turnovers.

The Pacers started the second half much like the first. Indiana went on a run, and a basket by George Hill on an assist from West put Indiana up 45-44. Another jumper by Hill forced Orlando to call timeout. The Magic didn't score for nearly three minutes to start the second half.

Orlando cut Indiana's lead to 65-64 on a floater by Ronnie Price, but the Magic was called for delay of game and issued a technical foul. West made the free throw with 6.1 seconds left in the third quarter, plus Indiana retained possession. George hit a contested 3-pointer over Price at the third-quarter buzzer.

NOTES: Pacers F Danny Granger sat out due to a strained left calf. The team expects him to miss about three weeks. ... Two Magic players returned to Indiana. Former Purdue player E'Twaun Moore and ex-Indiana University star Oladipo came off the bench for Orlando. Oladipo, a rookie who was the No. 2 overall pick in the June draft, got a standing ovation when he entered the game. ... Hibbert grabbed five rebounds in the first 2:30 and ended the first quarter with six points and 12 rebounds.

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