Rockets Rain Triples in O-Town; Harris a Revelation
Milwaukee fans are ready to burn down Bucks GM John Hammond’s home. How does this sound from a second season 20-year-old? First 4-game point totals in a Magic jersey: 14, 16, 23, and 27 tonight. That’s a new career-high for Tobias Harris as the 6’8” forward also mounted his 2nd career double-double by snatching 10 rebounds. It wasn’t enough as Orlando eventually succumbed to Houston’s outstanding 15-for-32 three-point barrage. 118-110 was the final as the Magic’s 9 final period turnovers did them in. My 39-win prediction can be officially thrown out the door barring Orlando running the table. Tobias is also mustering an outrageous 69.6 FG% and 5-of-10 from 3-point range so far in his young Magic tenure. The ways Harris can punish defenders are limitless and a wonderful sight to behold.
Coach Vaughn on Tobias: “I am pleased. I think he’s fit right in rather comfortably and then he hasn’t taken away from the guys who’ve been here…”
Houston’s overall size advantage would prove to be difficult to overcome all evening. So would Houston’s outrageous 3-point shooting. After trailing by 10 points early, the Magic held Houston to just 9 points in the remaining 6:35 of the opening period en route to a 32-31 lead after the initial twelve minutes. Defense was severely lacking as each team shot over fifty-five percent in the half. Houston’s 11-for-20 three-point shooting provided the Rockets a 64-61 advantage at the break. Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson each posted 13 points.
Coach Vaughn on struggling at the end: “I think you’ve got to give credit to Patrick Beverley. I think he came into the game and finished the stretch run for them.”
Donatas Motiejunas obtained a new career-high in points early in the second half, but he coughed up even more points to Nicholson and company. I’m still stunned to have seen a Beno-E’Twaun-Doron-Arron-Tobias lineup. Harris’ 7 points and Afflalo’s nine in the period guided Orlando in obtaining an 87-86 lead entering the 4th period.
Coach Vaughn on Tobias’ efficiency: “I don’t think he’s forcing too many things. If he doesn’t have a shot, he moves the basketballe, he’s able to get out in the lanes, he’s a recipient of passes, and I think our smalls have done a great job of sharing the basketball.”
Orlando was up 100-98 midway through the final period before Houston would streak to a 11-0 run and lead by nine with 3:09 remaining. Patrick Beverley stepped into James Harden’s shoes with ease. The bearded one was struggling with that bad left knee, and Beverley the midseason acquisition more than obliged to pick up the slack by draining 10 points in the session. Afflalo’s hero ball antics destroyed Orlando’s hopes at squeaking out a ‘W’. Arron looked fatigued and distracted probably from all the bruises and bloody scratches he received. At least Houston winning means less of a chance of the Lakers getting into the playoffs. The Magic will lick their wounds and prepare to host the Grizzlies on Sunday. Memphis just had their 8-game winning streak snapped in Miami.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.