Orlando Magic defeat depleted Timberwolves
It took a 4th quarter rally for the Orlando Magic to defeat an injury-depleted Minnesota Timberwolves squad, but the hometown team pulled out the victory in the end. The Magic were keyed by a 24-11 run over an eight minute span in the 4th, led by Victor Oladipo’s 10 points in the final frame and Tobias Harris who had six points and five rebounds in the 4th.
Both players came off the bench again for the Magic, but each played the entire 4th quarter. Harriss would finish with 17 points on the night and Oladipo finished with 16 points and six assists. Arron Afflalo led the team in scoring with 18 points.
Kevin Love was sidelined for the Timberwolves, a late scratch due to “back spasms”. Kevin Martin (foot) and Nikola Pekovic (ankle) also were unavailable. After Chase Budinger injured himself in the first minute of the game, Minnesota was down to just eight healthy players. As an important side note: the Minnesota Timberwolves were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Friday night in their OT loss to the Heat.
The Magic were also without starting Center Nik Vucevic for the second straight game due to a sore Achilles. Dewayne Dedmon got his first career NBA start in his place, shifting Kyle O’Quinn to the starting Power Forward position. O’Quinn continued his impressive late season play, finishing with 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Dedmon would play just 14 minutes, scoring just two points and grabbing six boards.
“You’ve got to have a short memory. It’s easier said than done. I was thinking about that game. I just wanted to win tonight. We were all playing together and we got the result we wanted.”- Kyle O’Quinn after the game.
Considering the roster put forth by Minnesota, the Magic should not have needed the late run – especially on their home court – to win this game. As sloppy as the beginning may have been, the youngsters showed promise to fight back and not let a rare winnable game slip by.
With a record of 22-55, the Magic sit just one game ahead of the Boston Celtics for the all-important “3rd best odds to win the lottery”. It will be interesting to see what types of injuries pop up over the next five games for both teams as the season comes to a close.
Orlando is off until Wednesday night when they face the Brooklyn Nets at home.