Denton: Sensational Performance Not Satisfying Enough For Oladipo

   

By playing 57 minutes and 11 seconds, Oladipo came within 49 seconds of equaling the Magic franchise record for minutes played of 58 by Horace Grant in 1998. Also, it was the most minutes played by a NBA rookie since Baltimore’s Ray Felix and Bob Houbregs both played 63 minutes on Feb. 22, 1954. A day later, Oladipo said other than a few bumps and bruises he felt no after-effects of playing nearly five straight quarters.

``I’m a little sore, but it’s all a part of your mind,’’ he said with a snicker. ``If they told me to play again, I’d come to play. I feel good. I’ll do a great job of recovering and stretching to get back because we have another game (on Friday against the Charlotte Bobcats).’’

Vaughn marveled at the ferocity and aggressiveness that the rookie played with on Wednesday night, saying: ``I think the extent of the game and the sample size of that game, from beginning to end, that was probably his best game for us.’’

Vaughn was asked if there’s a temptation now to simply let Oladipo freelance more on the court because he is so difficult to stay in front of defensively. Much to his credit, Vaughn has allowed the 21-year-old Oladipo to have the freedom to create on the fly and play through his mistakes. The rookie’s only negative from Wednesday’s stellar showing was his eight turnovers. Still, the coach stuck with Oladipo down the stretch and the game on the line against the Bulls.

``How loose can I cut him? I think I’ve been the biggest proponent (of Oladipo’s style). I don’t think many coaches would give him the leeway that he has,’’ joked Vaughn, who broke into the NBA as a rookie point guard under ultra-strict head coach Jerry Sloan. ``He played (57) minutes and he handles the basketball. You will see him multiple times throughout the game where he doesn’t even pass and he dribbles up as one of the fastest ones and he pulls up from 15 feet. So I think he has a pretty decent leeway, especially as a rookie.’’

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