Top 2 Draft Picks Duel in Magic Collapse
Newness was in the air Friday evening as the Magic kicked off their home preseason opener. Whether it was who was on the microphone (don’t worry, Paul Porter stays forever) or impressive jumbotron introduction clips. Whether it was a new Amway Center parquet floor design, or Stuff debuting a slick blue uniform. How about the top two selections in the 2013 Draft getting to showcase their talent?
Jacque Vaughn on ‘Dipo: “I think he ran the offense pretty well. We extended his minutes a little bit. Sometimes you have to do that to play that position and to be able to will yourself through it and will your team some, but overall good night for him.”
One thing this Magic team hasn’t been able to shake off is not being able to finish contests. After leading by thirteen at halftime, Orlando ended up losing to the Cavs 110-105 and Jacque Vaughn’s crew now claim an 0-2 record in exhibition play. Before people whip out the preseason excuse, the Magic gave more minutes to their regular rotation players than the Cavs did. No arguing with that.
Click below for some Victor Oladipo analysis.
Coach Vaughn on maintaining defensive focus when offense fails: “I think they were a little bit more physical in the 2nd half and it bumped us off our cuts a little bit, just more physical with us. I say if we don’t allow them to have 46 free throws we would be in pretty good shape.”
Just like in Jacksonville on Wednesday, Orlando’s starters and 2nd-unit rotation were the same. Magic overall #2 pick Victor Oladipo is a BAD man. 8 points and 3 rebounds in the 5:44 he played off the pine in the first quarter as Orlando led 37-26 after one period of play. Victor finished with a ferocious 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. There are still some growing pains as far as running into defensive traps and rushing passes go, but his nose for a loose ball and flawless shooting form will carry him a long way in this league. The team shot 6-of-9 from 3-point range and 70 FG% in that opening period. Obviously that scorching pace wouldn’t hold up.
Whether you want to see it or not, Nik Vucevic committed a pretty obvious flagrant foul on #1 overall draft pick Anthony Bennett with the Magic up double digits early in the 2nd period. Bennett appears out of shape and I wasn’t impressed by his 3-point form. He looked atrocious…for three quarters where he was 0-for-5. Then in the fourth he decided to go off for 14 of his total sixteen points – most came with Andrew Nicholson guarding him – and really showed why Cleveland chose him above all other prospects.
E’Twaun Moore drilled back-to-back 3s to put the Magic up 54-36 with 3:30 to go in the first half as Orlando was still scorching. My biggest hope for Victor’s offensive potential was seeing him drive at Kyrie Irving and blow directly past him with one big step and a sky-high righty lay-up finish. And 1. Also, earning referee respect by receiving a free throw line trip off a messy possession with 0.1 seconds remaining in a half is a positive sign of greatness too.
Kyrie Irving on Victor: “He’s going to be great in this league. The size that he has at the point guard position…and then he can move over to the two. His potential is out the roof.”
Orlando led 62-49 at the break thanks to 58.5 FG%, 8-of-16 shooting from downtown, and the Magic obtaining a wonderful 16-7 assist advantage over their guests. Victor led his squad with 12 points with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters posting a respectable twelve each as well. Mike Brown couldn’t have been thrilled getting outhustled in both points in the paint (28-14) and on fast break points (16-9). Orlando came out of the locker room flat. Much of the drop in play should focus on Andrew Nicholson, Jason Maxiell, and Romero Osby starting in place of Vucevic, O’Quinn, and Harkless.
Orlando’s lead was at 77-65 when a new 5-man lineup of Oladipo-Harkless-Tobias-O’Quinn-Vucevic. Yep, Maurice at shooting guard. Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving led the charging Cavs back as Orlando played lousy paint defense and couldn’t space the court on offense. Orlando coughed up their 13-point halftime advantage, but regained it entering the final period up 86-85 thanks to Oladipo drilling a pull-up driving jumper from the left over Jarrett Jack. All Bennett from there. I won’t freak out about Cleveland’s 46 free throw attempts to Orlando’s meager 19. It is preseason and I won’t fret when I see Haywoode Workman out there as one of the refs. Orlando hits the road next week, visiting Dallas and having another Dwight Howard reunion in Houston.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.