Denton: Afflalo Studying Tape; Harris Still Hurt, Holiday Tradition
By John Denton
Nov. 27, 2013
ORLANDO – How about this when it comes to having an all-out devotion to your craft? Bothered by two games in which he scored only 18 and 16 points, Orlando Magic guard Arron Afflalo immersed himself in video study on Monday and Tuesday and vowed to be a better player the next time on the floor.
Seeing the way teams were trying to run at him defensively to limit his 3-point shooting, Afflalo made some adjustments to his game on Tuesday in Atlanta and torched the Hawks for 26 points and four 3-pointers. Afflalo made himself more of a moving target by cutting hard to the rim and staying active around the 3-point line. His solid play throughout the game helped the Magic pull away for an impressive 109-92 defeat of the Hawks in Atlanta.
For Afflalo, making adjustments is just part of the cat-and-mouse game he must play as defenses work harder to stop him. He’s led the Magic in scoring nine times in 14 games in what is a career year, so Afflalo has become a focal point on opposing scouting reports. Afflalo usually goes back and studies games – whether he plays well or poorly – so that he can see what works and how he can continue to make strides.
``I’m always an advocate of getting better and trying to be as productive as I can be in the midst of playing with my team,’’ said Afflalo, who is averaging career highs in points (21.9 ppg.), rebounds (4.7 rpg.), assists (4.6 apg.) and 3-point shooting (51.3 percent). ``I never plan on stopping.’’
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn likes to hold Afflalo up as an example of a player willing to do what it takes to get better to the host of young players in the Orlando locker room. Vaughn has said that Afflalo has had ``laser focus’’ in meetings, practices and games, and it’s something that has been contagious throughout the roster this season.
``He knows where his shots are going to come from and he just continues to be so efficient for us,’’ Vaughn raved. ``The guys have a tremendous amount of confidence in Arron and he’s been a steady force for us all year.’’
HARRIS HURTING AGAIN: As expected, Magic forward Tobias Harris was held out of action on Wednesday night after experiencing more pain in his left ankle.
Harris missed five weeks because of a high ankle sprain suffered on Oct. 20 in an exhibition game. He returned on Sunday night and scored six points in 16 minutes against the Phoenix Suns. However, Harris experienced pain in his lower leg and ankle again during that game when he sprinted down the court and when he made certain movements.
Harris was slated to start Tuesday’s game in Atlanta, but he had to cut a pregame workout short because of recurring pain in the ankle and was scratched from the game. He hoped to be able to play on Wednesday, but that was never a realistic option considering the Magic’s cautious approach to players with injuries.
``He won’t play tonight. I don’t have a timeline,’’ Vaughn said. ``We’ll see how he responds to treatment.’’
MAGICAL THANKSGIVING TRADITION: The Magic will continue one of their most heart-warming traditions on Thursday morning when they purchase and serve Thanksgiving breakfasts for more than 700 people at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.
Magic CEO Alex Martins, head coach Jacque Vaughn and standout players Jameer Nelson, Victor Oladipo, Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis and Jason Maxiell will help serve food and entertain at a kids carnival for those at the Coalition.
It will be the 21st consecutive year that the Magic have worked hand-in-hand with the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida to provide a warm meal for the needy.
Festivities at the kids carnival will include: guest appearances by STUFF the Magic Mascot and the Magic Dancers; face painting; balloon art; caricature art; skee ball; a photo booth; and music by 102 JAMZ. Adults and children will also be treated to haircuts by Paul Mitchell, The School.
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