Denton's Dish: The 5th Quarter (2/25/14)



Victor Oladipo was the Magic’s leading scorer with 26 points, but for most of the game Orlando’s offensive star was Harkless, who was aggressive and seeking out shots.

Harkless, who started at small forward in place of the injured Arron Afflalo (ankle sprain), was unhappy with his performance on Sunday in Toronto when he got badly outplayed by DeMar DeRozan. Challenged by his coaches, Harkless came back with a strong effort on Tuesday with 22 points, five rebounds and two 3-pointers.

Harkless had the hard drive for the 3-point play late in the first half, and he twice went hard to the hoop for dunks. And when he got the ball on the perimeter, the 20-year-old forward shot the ball with confidence.

``That was just me being aggressive when I got the ball and cutting off the ball,’’ Harkless said. ``I’m just trying to find ways to make an impact on the floor.’’

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said the key now is for the mild-mannered Harkless to play well Wednesday in Philadelphia and string together several good efforts. Harkless is well aware of his inconsistencies and said it’s a mission of his to play better night to night.

``I just have to stay aggressive and I can’t be so up and down,’’ Harkless said. ``I have to be more consistent every night.’’