Orlando Magic Mystified by Memphis
Following a two-game road split, Jacque Vaughn’s crew lost at home Friday evening to the Memphis Grizzlies 97-91. Victor Oladipo led all scorers with 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting and an impressive 8-of-8 from the free throw line. The rookie poured in nine points in the final period of play when his team was desperate for scoring options. Doron Lamb is still MIA and Tobias Harris sat out another contest for precautionary reasons to protect his ankle. So that meant Jason Maxiell got his first start as a member of the Magic. He came in shooting 7-of-8 from the field. Field goal efficiency wasn’t his strong suit back in Detroit colors, but I’ll take 2-of-4 and four rebounds on light duty. Maxiell did a solid job shutting Zach Randolph down.
Coach Vaughn on 4-of-18 3-point shooting: “I think overall, the looks, I don’t think they were forced tonight…I think we shot under 20 tonight, I wouldn’t mind shooting even more…”
Extra attention was requested tonight on Vucevic’s matchup with Marc Gasol. Nikola hasn’t hidden the fact that he’s striving to emulate the big Spaniard’s style on both ends of the court. Vucci Mane didn’t disappoint as he showed Marc a nifty left drop-step hammer jam that tapped into some rare aggression. Nik posted 9 points and 5 rebounds in the first period, defending Marc efficiently in the process. Former Magic man and Florida Gator, Mike Miller started and torched Harkless for numerous open looks and a rare 19-point and 11-rebound double-double. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t walk a few years ago because due to severe back pain. Despite abysmal perimeter shooting and a lack of finishing at the rim, Orlando only trailed 37-41 at halftime.
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Coach Vaughn on Maxiell: “I thought he did a good job of giving resistance to Randolph and that’s important for our team. It think he has a physicality and a presence about himself…He knows how to play.”
Vucevic would get his double-double, but not long after the refs would foul him out with questionable calls in the third period. Shame because Nik was Coach Vaughn’s best player. Orlando trailed 65-67 heading into the last dozen minutes with Oladipo and Afflalo in double digits as they picked up the scoring slack.
The 4th quarter was terrible aside from a thunder slam by Maurice Harkless late. Somewhere around the time Ed Davis got his double-double and when Tony Gaffney and Jon Leuer were outhustling Magic rotation guys, it was a dim stretch to have to watch the Magic. Orlando will look to improve on their 1-4 record against Detroit at Amway Center on Sunday evening. Wear your pink.
Coach Vaughn on Oladipo getting to the free throw line: “It’s tough to keep him in front of you, and so if he can put pressure on the defense the more the better for us as a team.”
Kris Joseph looks like the first Magic training camp invite I’d cut. Too many turnovers and not being able to drain open jumpers. I’m about ready to cut E’Twaun to make room for Solomon Jones. Even when he has good scoring nights, Moore negates it all with numerous errors.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.