Denton: Magic vs. Thunder Analysis (12/15/13)
Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis, who buried his a 3-pointer last week in Philadelphia to force overtime, ended up with the ball when Orlando couldn’t get it to Tobias Harris or Arron Afflalo. Davis’ heave was well short, and a jump ball was called after an inadvertent whistle. Harris had the desperation heave from 25 feet go long, but refs ruled it left his hands after the buzzer.
``We tried to run a play for Arron, but it got switched and I had to do something,’’ Davis said. ``Jameer (Nelson) had to throw the ball to me and I just had to throw it up. I’ve been pretty lucky lately with those, but I guess my luck ran out.’’
A sellout crowd of 18,203 at noisy Energy Solutions Arena saw the Thunder (19-4) improve to 12-0 at home this season. The Magic (7-17) briefly put a scare into the home crowd with spirited runs in the second and fourth quarters, but they simply couldn’t keep pace with one of the NBA’s most potent offenses.
The Thunder were so locked in that even their mascot, Rumble, banked in a half-court shot that he/she threw over his/her shoulders with 5:42 left in the game.
Orlando, losers of its last two games, got 25 points and two 3-pointers from Afflalo, a solid double-double from Nikola Vucevic (13 points and 16 rebounds) and five starters in double figures. But it was hardly enough on this night against an Oklahoma City team with the second-best record in the rugged Western Conference. Orlando made just seven of 20 shots (35 percent) in the third period to undue much of their solid first-half play.
Orlando missed nine free throws in the game and allowed Oklahoma City to turn its 14 turnovers into 17 points. Still, head coach Jacque Vaughn was encouraged by the will and grit that the Magic played with in pushing the Thunder to the max.
``Overall I think our guys believed beginning to end that we were going to win that ballgame and that was a good start for us,’’ Vaughn said. ``The best thing about the game, it didn’t matter if we were up or down or if we had dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, we continued to fight and trust each other. We believed at the end of the game we’d be there and they were.’’
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