Three New Faces Debut in Orlando Defeat
The Orlando Magic are now 15-41 and have won THREE game since December 21st after falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-94. Wins or losses don’t truly matter when you’re the second-worst team in basketball. Saturday night was all about the debuts of Beno Udrih, Tobias Harris, and Doron Lamb. Beno finished with 10 points, 7 assists, and 3 rebounds. Tobias posted 14 points and 6 rebounds. Lamb only logged a rebound in his 10 minutes on the court.
Coach Vaughn on incorporating the new guys: “We went from introducing ourselves to trying to put in a few sets and play on the floor but the good thing is those guys were able to get out there, touch the floor a bit and get to know their teammates a little bit so that was good.”
Beno along with O’Quinn were the first men of Jacque Vaughn’s bench at the 4:19 mark in the first period. Tobias and Lamb would soon follow as ‘JV’ was keen on keep the 3 former Bucks together on the parquet floor. Orlando only trailed 25-26 after the first quarter. Cavs were ahead ten before the benching of E’Twaun actually worked. An 11-2 Magic run ensued with Beno being inserted at point guard. Udrih REALLY loves shooting jumpers off of pick-and-rolls and in any instance that he’s left alone to pull up. Magic supporters will have to get used to a new #12 (Tobias) shooting jumpers and draining free throws.
Coach Vaughn on lack of chemistry: “Well we haven’t had a practice yet. Monday I’m looking forward to it. They’ll be able to maybe know each other’s middle names by then…”
The new acquisitions were failing to communicate and help on defense, but their enthusiasm and intensity allowed for the Magic’s second unit to compete with Cleveland. Harris was still snagging rebounds, Lamb was playing superb defense, and Udrih was still dishing out assists. Six points and 4 assists in the 30-year-old Slovenian’s initial 11-minute first half stint. Combine that with E’Twaun putting up an efficient 8 points, and those two were doing okay at filling Jameer’s vacancy. Nelson was out and listed as day-to-day with a left knee patella contusion. We had a stalemate at Amway Center, 51-51 at the break.
Coach Vaughn on not accepting losing: “I think you still hold guys accountable. There is no mistake in the accountability whether it’s showing clips at halftime…It doesn’t guarantee you wins and losses but we’re trying to play the best that we can and that’s what you want to do.”
Cleveland leapt out on a 10-2 sprint to begin the third period. The fatigue of 4 games in 5 nights for Orlando was setting in. After missing a running banking floater and 2 jumpers, Harris finally connected on his first bucket of his Magic career in that 3rd quarter. Tyler Zeller had a ridiculous 12-point, 6-rebound period and Cleveland held a 79-72 advantage entering the fourth. DeQuan’s shot selection is fabulous when it’s nothing but highlight-reel dunks. They weren’t enough to overshadow the team’s lack of defensive poise or ability to stop Cleveland’s transition attack.
An 8-0 Cleveland run to open the final period of regulation was enough to build the necessary 15-point cushion to put Orlando away. He didn’t display his post-up abilities, but a Harris rising jam and a few blocked shot showed to me that Tobias is much more athletic than when he was at the University of Tennessee. When the result was long decided, Tobias was able to show he’s not afraid to take the ball up the court and go one-one-one with his defender to the rack. Udrih’s knack for distributing and drawing fouls are much needed on this roster. Orlando has Sunday off before the new 14-man squad can finally practice together on Monday. Orlando then flies out to Philadelphia to take on the Sixers on Tuesday.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.