Indiana Pacers vs Orlando Magic Prediction: Will the Real Tankers Please Stand Up?

Indiana Pacers vs Orlando Magic prediction and pick for Monday's game. Handicapper Jonathan Macri breaks down Pacers vs Magic in his best pick for Monday's NBA action.
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Indiana Pacers vs Orlando Magic Prediction: Will the Real Tankers Please Stand Up?

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Indiana Pacers vs Orlando Magic Prediction

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It's after the All-Star break, which usually means that tanking season is officially on.

A few teams have already started in earnest. The Rockets, current owners of the third-worst record in the league, have lost 13 of 14 games and are getting outscored by an average of 13.7 points per 100 possessions in that time. Two other teams allegedly trying to win, the Kings and Knicks, have lost four and five games in a row, respectively, and are slowly falling out of their play-in races.

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On the flip side, teams that you would think are getting ready to tank to the top are doing anything but. The Orlando Magic, long thought to be leaders in the clubhouse for the top lottery odds, have nearly doubled their season-long win total in the last 14 games, going 6-8 with a respectable (for them) negative 5.3 net rating that ranks 22nd in the NBA over that time.

Right behind them with a negative 6.6 number are the Indiana Pacers. Since acquiring Tyrese Haliburton, they have a nearly dead even point differential with close losses to the Cavs, Wolves, Bucks and Thunder and wins over the Wizards, and most recently, the mighty Celtics by 21 points.

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That victory was bolstered by some incredibly hot 3-point shooting that saw the Pacers hit 17 of 33 from deep and 52.2 percent overall. Four starters, including Haliburton and fellow former King Buddy Hield, scored 20, and there's no evidence they miss either of their former foundational big men, with Domantas Sabonis in Sacramento and Myles Turner on the shelf.

These two teams are both playing hard and this line is set fairly at essentially a pick'em. That said, Indiana is simply the better team and needs to be respected as such. Orlando's wins have come almost exclusively against bottom-feeders and they don't have anything resembling the sort of quality win that the Pacers just came away with. Indy has a fun, young nine-man core that makes sense. Orlando, meanwhile, may be reintegrating Markelle Fultz tonight, which might take some getting used to alongside Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs. Go with the Pacers on the road.

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Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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