Al Harrington Returns, Magic Will Now Run Table
What’s terrible about that title is Orlando has to go perfect the rest of the way just to achieve a .500 record. The 5-game losing streak is over. Orlando is 1-0 in the Al Harrington era as the Magic went into Philadelphia and stole a 98-84 victory over the Sixers. With still no Jameer, E’Twaun Moore picked a splendid time to notch his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. Tobias Harris followed up his 14-point debut on Saturday with 16 points off the bench. Beno Udrih tallied 4 points and a fabulous 9 assists also off the pine as the new Milwaukee acquisitions are contributing nicely.
Al Harrington, who was out since April 1st of last year with knee procedures galore, came back late in the first quarter of Tuesday’s contest. Harrington was oddly slotted at center as both squads were playing small ball. Al looked extremely lost on rotations and missed a vast variety of shot attempts, but he looked happy to be out there and was active on the glass. His 2nd half would go MUCH better.
After being down only a bucket to open the 2nd quarter, Philadelphia opened the period on a 7-0 run. Orlando would unexpectedly answer with a 14-2 run. Nicholson and Harris were 9-of-11 combined from the field in the first half and Orlando led 47-42 at the break and didn’t stop, sprinting out of the locker rooms on a stunning 11-0 run. Despite being up by as many as seventeen, Orlando tightened up towards the end of the period and the Magic held a 68-61 advantage entering the fourth.
When Harrington drilled his first points as a Magic man on a long two, followed by a DeQuan jumper, and then an Al 3-pointer, you knew Orlando wasn’t going to choke this one away. I was enthralled with Harrington’s spinning up-and-under lay-up past Hawes that was the capper to his 9-point and 2-assist fourth quarter. Vucevic and Harkless each got to ‘stick it’ to the Sixers franchise. Twelve points and 19 boards for Nik, and 10 points from Maurice. Afflalo’s 16-point, 6-rebound, 7-assist stat line gets hidden in the box score.
When Tobias Harris told me he tries to mirror his game like Carmelo Anthony (and George Gervin) I almost honestly scoffed at the notion. Harris is going to make me look like a fool if he continues to drill pull-up jumpers and attack with no regard for whoever guards him…just like Melo does. The scariest part? Harris does it all with outstanding aggression while still contributing defensively. You have to go nuts over a 6’8” guy who can strip a guy and head coast-to-coast for a lay-up while speeding past someone like Jrue Holiday. Don’t worry, I’m not getting ahead of myself. The Magic host Sacramento at Amway Center on Wednesday.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.