ORLANDO, Fla. – Ryan Anderson scored 14 points, and Dwight Howard had 13 points and 13 rebounds in a short night of work as the Orlando Magic cruised to a 92-74 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Mike Dunleavy and Brandon Rush both scored 16 points for Indiana.
Orlando beat Indiana for the fifth straight time, including three victories this season. The Magic also concluded their fourth consecutive 50-win season by winning four of their final five games.
The Pacers open their first playoff series in five years on Saturday afternoon against top-seeded Chicago. The Magic host Atlanta on Saturday night in a matchup of the fourth and fifth seeds.
Orlando's playoff prep was clearly already under way Wednesday, and the Magic were able to get their starters a little rest even with some bodies missing from their ideal postseason rotation.
The Magic led by double digits for most of the game, allowing Howard to play just 25 minutes and leave the game for the final time with 8:55 remaining.
The lead was as many as 17 in the first half before the Pacers trimmed it to 33-26 in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Indiana's momentum quickly stalled, though, after big man Roy Hibbert was whistled for his fifth personal foul with 4:25 left in the half. The Magic took advantage of the open paint and closed the period with a 20-3 spurt to lead 53-29 at the break.
Indiana cut into the lead a little in the second half, but never really threatened.
The Magic went on a 23-5 run over the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter to open a 28-14 lead entering the second. Anderson hit all four of his field goal attempts in the period, including three 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 11 points.
Orlando has been hobbled by a string of nagging injuries down the stretch, but it got some welcomed news early Wednesday.
Reserve guard J.J. Redick sat out his 17th straight game, but was able to do some light work during their morning shootaround. He estimated he'd be able to complete a live practice by the end of the week and expected to be available for the playoffs.
Backup point guard Gilbert Arenas got the night off to rest his sore knees and left calf muscle. He said it was just precautionary, though, and that an MRI on the tender left knee that kept him out of Monday's win over Philadelphia was negative. He also expects to be ready for the Atlanta series.
NOTES: Redick said he isn't concerned about the short time he has to get his stamina back before the start of the playoffs. "It's only been a month, so it's not like it's been six months and it's not like I've been coming back from a longer injury," he said. "It might be a game, it might be three games, I don't know. But I don't think it'll take too long to get back into playing rhythm." ... Indiana rested F Danny Granger and C Jeff Foster. Pacers interim coach Frank Vogel said Granger was kept out to reduce the chances of a stress fracture in his ankle and Foster was resting a sore back. ... Indiana F Solomon Jones was whistled for a flagrant 1 foul on Jameer Nelson in the first quarter and James Posey was called for another on Earl Clark in the fourth. ... NBA referee Bob Delaney, who was officiating his final regular-season game Wednesday after a 36-year career, was honored in the pregame.