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Basketball Gods Not Smiling on Orlando as Raptors Sweep Magic

2013 January 24
by Adam Papageorgiou

JJ Redick Struggle face

A JJ Redick 4-point play with 53.1 seconds remaining tied the contest at 93-93 to spark life into a half-foreign, half-dead 17,145-seat occupied Amway Center. And then E’Twaun Moore would tie the game up again at 95-95 with 20.9 seconds to go in regulation. Stop getting excited, because DeMar DeRozan’s ridiculous corner fadeaway jumper over the arms of Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis would extinguish all the cheers. Orlando fell 97-95, and own a 14-28 record, having lost 15 of their last 17 contests as Toronto has won all four meetings this season. Basically all of DeRozan’s fourteen 4th period points were heavily defended jumpers.

Coach Vaughn on the final play: “I think Glen and Arron were both there and that’s part of basketball. Great shot and he made it.”

Jacque Vaughn’s gamble of going small and benching Nik Vucevic for the entire fourth quarter almost paid off. How dare this team lose with singing teen heartthrob Cody Simpson in attendance. Each team had 6 players in double figures. Jameer Nelson came up 3 rebounds shy of his first career triple-double. In under 30 minutes, Vucevic still posted his 22nd double-double of the season with a solid 19 points and 14 rebounds Thursday night.

Coach Vaughn on sitting Vucevic in the 4th period: “Matchups. They went small. I could only have one big on the floor.”

RedickRaptors4PointPlay

Afflalo is starting to remind me of Keith Bogans with all of his long 2-pointers and bad dribbling. Ignoring Andrew Nicholson impersonating a terrible blackhole, Orlando only trailed 22-20 after one period. The Magic were down 1 at the break as Nik Vucevic was already one rebound shy of another double-double, and E’Twaun Moore was extremely active off the bench.

I’m beating a dead horse, but Orlando would be winning some of these tight ball games if Vucevic was receiving more touches. Nik does not disrupt ball movement by any means. The Magic were down 75-66 entering the final period as Jacque Vaughn’s club had difficulty finding points. At least they were still in the game unlike the 35-point drubbing.

Coach Vaughn on Glen Davis’ focus: “I love Glen’s head and he was great for us tonight. He picked up some early fouls, I stuck with him like I have this entire year and we’ll continue to stick with him.”

Out of nowhere, after being down 11, Orlando players woke up to charge back and nab an 84-83 lead with 5:19 remaining in regulation. That 14-4 run set the stage for another tense late defeat. The Magic have the day off tomorrow as Orlando prepares for the Pistons to come into town. Both franchises just played one another on Tuesday where the Magic lost in frigid Detroit.

Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.