Orlando Magic Blast By Brooklyn
Last season the Magic lost all four meetings with the Nets by 8, 12, 20, and 39 points. So it’s a great gauge of progress when Coach Vaughn’s crew blew past a more experienced Brooklyn side and were able to spoil Jason Kidd’s coaching debut by winning 107-86 Sunday evening. Arron Afflalo filled the boxscore with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and a career-high 8 assists. Andrew Nicholson posted his 3rd career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Nik Vucevic looked like an All-Star again with his 19 & 12 and smart ignoring of a barking Kevin Garnett. Rookie stud Victor Oladipo captivated the basketball world with his highlight-filled 19 points, 6 boards, 4 assists and 2 steals.
Jason Kidd on Victor Oladipo: “He’s a talented rookie. He’s everything that he’s been built up to be, and his future is very bright.”
It really is unfortunate that we still have to witness awful Joey Crawford officiating, which thankfully didn’t play a factor. The opening quarter saw a lot of Nets wide open jump shot misses and some outstanding defensive work by Maxiell (crowd loved his swat on Blatche’s dunk attempt). He may have Rony Seikaly hands, but Jason has been really active to start the season and is a tone setter for his bench replacements. A 22-22 deadlock after one.
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Despite KG having his fun with O’Quinn and Nik leaving Lopez open for a few jumpers, which was the game plan, Orlando’s defense looked quite lively in comparison to Brooklyn. Speaking of Vucci Mane, Nik produced a flashy 13-point, 7-rebound first half which turn into an overall solid performance against an All-Star frontcourt. Afflalo boosting his assist and rebound stats is a very positive trend that doesn’t appear to be waning. Orlando led 41-38 at the break. Nets only managed 36.4 FG%, 1-of-8 from deep, and didn’t resemble a championship contender.
Arron Afflalo: “Each individual player has gotten a lot better, our energy level, our attention to details on both ends of the court has gotten better, we have a good rookie on the team…We just have to keep it going.”
Maurice Harkless may garner some 3-point shootout votes the way he’s bombing away from deep as he began the second half with back-to-back treys from the right corner. KG was getting away with a lot of pushing as per usual. Eventually Vucevic started showing some aggression and began dominating Garnett on both ends. Orlando went ahead by 16 points midway through the third period. Somewhere around the time Joe Johnson actually scored a bucket (his only of the night) and Pierce welcoming Oladipo to the league with a crossover and dunk did Brooklyn begin to compete. Too little too late. Oladipo-Mania kicked in with dazzling moves and the 15,297 Amway Center patrons had a lot to cheer about. Nicholson’s shotput attempt from Oladipo’s blocked heave beat the buzzer and the home side led 74-59 entering the final period of regulation.
The 4th quarter couldn’t have opened much better. Nicholson bullies AK47 in the post. Then Oladipo converts another drive, spin move, and righty lay-up finish and Orlando goes up 21. Finally, he picks off Deron Williams and throws down a 360 jam I haven’t seen get thrown down with so much explosiveness since McGrady. Victor at halftime only had 5 points and 3 assists with a few shaky turnovers. To see him dominate in spurts in the second half was quite the treat. Orlando clinched the contest by just dominating in the paint, holding their opponents to under 40%, and hoisting up more free throws. I can get used to that. Wednesday brings the 2-2 Magic the home returns of Doc Rivers and JJ Redick…as members of the Clippers.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.