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Orlando Magic News & Notes

2013 April 6
by Andrew Melnick

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Although the Orlando Magic fell to the Chicago Bulls Friday night, they are taking away some positives, writes John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com:

“We played really with a good pace, we had good spacing and the bigs were setting good screens,’’ Udrih said. “I was coming out of the pick-and-roll and I was wide open and able to knock down some shots. Nik made a couple of good passes out of the post and I was just trying to be aggressive and make the right plays.

Despite leading all Eastern Conference rookies in scoring during the month of March, Maurice Harkless lost out to Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas for the Rookie of the Month award. Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post broke it down:

In March, Harkless led all Eastern rookies in per-game scoring (13.1) and in steals (2.2) while ranking fourth in rebounding (5.6) and third in shot-blocking (0.9). He scored 18-plus points four times in 16 March games after reaching that mark just thrice in his first 52 games.

But Valanciunas was impressive in his own right; the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft led all East rookies in per-game rebounding (7.3), in shot-blocking (1.1), and in field-goal shooting (62 percent) while ranking fourth in scoring (11.4).

Speaking of Harkless, Spencer Lund explains why he is Orlando’s small forward of the future:

That corner spot is where a lot of Harkless’ offensive sets start and finish. He’s either in the corner or along the baseline for most of Orlando’s plays, but that court positioning also allows him to dive into the lane as he comes around a screen or when he uses Vucevic’s ambling presence on the block as a mini-screen.

Orlando doesn’t run pin-downs for Harkless (nor should they, until he improves his jumper), so he loses his man with natural cuts you can’t really teach — a intuitive skill for Moe.

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