Denton: Magic vs. Lakers Analysis (1/24/14)


Harris had nine points in the first quarter, 17 points and 13 rebounds by halftime and 24 points and 16 rebounds heading into the fourth quarter. He easily scored against L.A.’s Ryan Kelly and was in attack mode from start to finish. He helped the Magic outscore the Lakers in each of the final three periods, including a 38-25 bulge in the game-turning third period.

``Tobias works really hard. Watching him work and get in the gym and try to get back to now getting used to everything and in the flow, it’s great to see,’’ Oladipo said. ``When he plays well, we play well. So we’ve got to keep building on that.’’

The Lakers, who were led by Pau Gasol’s 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, were without superstar guard Kobe Bryant because of a fractured kneecap. The five-time champion is still travelling with the team and wistfully dribbled the basketball out on the court during one timeout. At least one Magic player – Oladipo – was upset that Bryant didn’t play because he grew up idolizing the superstar guard.

Orlando leaves on Saturday for a three-game roadtrip that will cover all or parts of six days. The Magic play in New Orleans on Sunday, in suburban Detroit on Tuesday and in Toronto on Wednesday. Orlando’s next home game is Jan. 31 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Vaughn said before the game that the team was still discussing whether or not Vucevic will go on the trip with his teammates. Vucevic suffered a concussion on Jan. 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers when he fell head-first after having his legs knocked out from under him. He has missed the past 10 games and has yet to be cleared from the NBA’s concussion protocol. He must receive clearance from doctors before he’s even allowed to practice with the team.

Orlando shook off a recent trend of poor third-quarter performances with a couple of stellar streaks that put them ahead 91-80. The Magic had 18-3 spurt early in the period and they closed the third with a dazzling 14-0 run. Harris and Oladipo teamed up for a stellar play in the run where the rookie guard fed a no-look pass to Harris for a fast break dunk.

``The beginning of the third quarter was not impressive – as usual – but I thought we did a good job of finishing out the quarter,’’ said Afflalo, who had 12 points and three assists in the third quarter alone. ``We did a good job of locking in defensively and getting some transition baskets. Tonight was one of those nights where the ball moved really well.’’


Follow John Denton on Twitter here