The Orlando Magic knew they would face a formidable task in beginning their season on the road against a team that took the Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals.
Despite a horrid start in which they fell behind 12-0, the Magic wound up playing the Indiana Pacers on even terms for the better part of the first three quarters. But the final 12 minutes were a different matter, and the Pacers pulled away for a 97-87 victory.
Other than second-year forward Andrew Nicholson, who scored all 18 of his points in the first half, the Magic struggled against the Pacers, who were second in the NBA last season in points allowed per game (90.7).
Even if Tobias Harris were available instead of being sidelined with a sprained left ankle, it's doubtful his presence would have changed the outcome.
Victor Oladipo had his moments in his debut. Playing in front of a crowd that included Tom Crean, his college coach at Indiana, the rookie guard came off the bench with 5:38 to go in...