Harkless Sets New Career-High as Brooklyn Slaughters Magic
Carlesimo or Avery Johnson as Head Coach, it really doesn’t matter. Brooklyn has swept the 4-game series with Orlando this season, notching a 97-77 victory in their belts with superior rebounding and 3-point launching, dropping Orlando to 14-30. With Arron Afflalo sitting due to a strained left calf, that meant St. John’s man Maurice Harkless would be re-acclimated with the starting small forward position. The 19-year-old got a new scoring career-high, finishing with 16 points. The man from New York City looked fearless and showed us why his potential ceiling is limitless.
It also signified that Nikola Vucevic is the only Magic man to have played every contest this season. ‘Vooch’ finished with 18 & 9. JJ Redick also set his career-best in passing with 10 assists. Redick shot a putrid 2-for-13 but compensated with 6 rebounds, one shy of his career-best.
As head scratching as sitting Redick after a hot opening 5 and a half minutes was last night by Coach Vaughn, I’m equally as befuddled when it came to Nik Vucevic being the first Magic player benched for Ayon in Brooklyn when ‘Vooch’ had a fiery 8-point start. Maybe we are in tanking mode.
The Nets made 6-of-9 from 3-point range in the first period and led 30-20 despite Hedo Turkoglu’s first on-court appearance since January 7th. Orlando trailed by sixteen at the break as the Nets could do whatever they wanted on offense, proven by their 56.8 FG%. Harkless managed 8 first half points. The Magic didn’t attempt a single free throw.
After floundering for a lengthy period of time in the 3rd period, back-to-back Harkless 3-pointers got the Magic rolling towards respectability. Orlando’s first free throws of the night came at the 4:15 mark off the quarter thanks to a Glen Davis take. Thanks to some Hedo hustle and Redick feeding, Orlando only trailed 63-70 entering the final 12 minutes.
Naturally, former Magic man Keith Bogans would dismantle the pinstripe patrol and any hopes they had of stealing a win from Barclays Center. Unbelievable. The Nets would be the best team in basketball if they only played this franchise. 6-game losing slide now. Orlando takes a day off before heading to Madison Square Garden to face a superb Knicks team.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.