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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 30th (All times eastern)

Indiana Pacers (31-40) at Orlando Magic (33-39), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two teams battling for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference meet tonight, as the Orlando Magic open a four-game homestand versus the Indiana Pacers at Amway Arena.

Orlando is currently in the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, while the Pacers are 1 1/2 games behind. Indiana is losing ground with three straight losses, including Wednesday's 118-94 setback to the New Jersey Nets at Continental Airlines Arena in the opener of a brief two-game road trip.

Shawne Williams had 19 points for the Pacers, who were without forward Jermaine O'Neal due to an injured left knee and ankle. Mike Dunleavy Jr. contributed 14 points and Troy Murphy, starting in place for O'Neal, tallied 13 points and 14 boards for Indiana, which is tied with New York in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Pacers have dropped 10 straight on the road and are 11-24 away from Conseco Fieldhouse this season. In injury news for Indiana, guard Darrell Armstrong (nose) is probable for Friday's game, while O'Neal (knee/ankle) is questionable against Orlando.

Meanwhile, the Magic had a two-game winning streak halted with Wednesday's 105-96 double-overtime loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Banknorth Garden.

Grant Hill and Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 points apiece and both Tony Battie and Dwight Howard posted double-doubles for Orlando. Battie had 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Howard was a force with 12 points and a game-high 14 boards.

The Magic will host Indiana, Minnesota, Toronto and Memphis on their homestand, and are 21-14 at Amway Arena this season.

Friday's game between Indiana and Orlando is the fourth and final meeting of the regular season. The Pacers are 2-1 in the season series and have won five of six and six of the last eight encounters.

Indiana has lost two of its last three at Orlando.

03/30 10:42:33 ET


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