Denton: Magic at Wizards Analysis (12/2/13)
Down 11 at the half, Orlando used a 10-2 run to get within 63-55 of the Wizards (9-9) with 6:19 left in the third period. But Washington put the Magic out of their misery soon after, ripping off a 9-0 run of its own to push the lead back to 16 points. The Magic trailed 75-61 after three periods and never made much of a run at Washington over the final 12 minutes.
Orlando trailed 52-41 at the half because of poor starts and finishes to the first half. The Magic went down 15-2 to open the game and gave up a 17-6 spurt to end the half. Ariza carved up Orlando in the opening 24 minutes with 19 points, six-of-seven shooting and three 3-pointers.
Afflalo, easily Orlando’s steadiest performer all season, kept the Magic in striking distance early in the game with 17 first-half points. He made eight of his first 11 shots, including three jumpers at the end of the shot clock.
``Overall, (Afflalo) was really efficient for us,’’ Vaughn said. ``His offense was much-needed for us tonight with us scoring 80 points. I think overall his looks in the second half were pretty good. We pulled him pretty early because we play (on Tuesday in Philadelphia).’’
Oladipo looked as if he was right at home in the game’s early going, scoring 11 first-half points. He made just four of 11 shots, but he got to the free throw line four times early on and had a thunderous two-handed dunk by driving through the heart of the Washington defense. That play had several fans in the Verizon Center crowd chanting, ``O-la-di-po! O-la-di-po! O-la-di-po!’’ Orlando got off to a shaky start, but played its way back into the game in the first half. The Magic didn’t have their second basket until the game was almost five minutes old and they trailed 15-2. The fell into that hole because they made just one of their first eight shots and turned the ball over twice.
But Orlando came storming back behind the driving of Oladipo and the long-range shooting of Afflalo. The two of them combined for 16 first-quarter points and the Magic got the game tied at 22-all by the end of the first period.
Late Monday night, Oladipo said that he needs to do more to try and make up for the loss of Nelson by attacking the rim more to put pressure on opposing defenses.
``I’ve got to be able to learn how to be aggressive but at the same time keep everybody else involved,’’ the rookie guard said. ``I have to make the simple play. I’m not going to learn until I continue to keep growing, watch film and learn from guys like Jameer and the coaching staff as well. I’ve got a long way to go and I’m willing to work to get there.’’
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