Howard was well contained in the first half because of the gritty defense of Magic center Vucevic. Howard missed four of his five shots when Vucevic pushed him off the block and forced him to shoot his hook shots from an uncomfortable range. Vucevic did pick up three first-half fouls, but he passed the test of standing up physically to the powerful Howard.
``(Vucevic) has a couple of bruises. He has a bruise on his arm and under his eye a little bit, so that means he came to play,’’ Vaughn said of Vucevic. ``You should go home every night with some sort of scar, scab or band-aid to prove that you came to play. So he got a couple of bruises and I loved seeing it.’’
Nicholson, who worked hard over the summer to expand his shooting range, drilled two more corner 3-pointers in the first quarter and a third in the fourth quarter. After not making a 3-pointer during his rookie season, Nicholson has made five of them this preseason.
As for O’Quinn, he agreed that being out of the starting lineup and coming off actually might have helped to ease some of his nerves.
``It helped a little bit. (From the bench) you get to see the game flow and you don’t have those early jitters. I kind of like that (reserve) role,’’ O’Quinn said. ``When you are around a group of guys like we have somebody has to take a back seat and I fully take advantage of it that I can take the backseat because our guys are so talented. I just want to work off them and do the things that they shouldn’t have to do during the game.’’
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