Denton: Dec. 3, 2013 Was Day of Unforgettable Performances
By John Denton
Dec. 4, 2013
NEW YORK – Even in defeat on Tuesday night, the Orlando Magic offered up several record-setting and character-revealing moments for the basketball world to see.
With the Magic short-handed because of injuries to Jameer Nelson, Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris, standouts Arron Afflalo, Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis and Victor Oladipo all played more than 50 minutes of Orlando’s crushing 126-125 double-overtime loss to Philadelphia.
But the stellar numbers and jaw-dropping performances from the night hardly ended there. To wit:
- According to Stats, LLC, Afflalo (43 points), Davis (33 points) and Oladipo (26 points) became the highest scoring Magic trio in a game ever. Their 102 points beat out the 97 scored by Shaquille O’Neal (36), Penny Hardaway (32) and Nick Anderson (29) on Jan. 26, 1994.
``It may not be a big deal in the history of the game, but to be playing basketball for 50-some minutes is a game is a lot of fun,’’ Afflalo said afterward while complaining about his feet aching. ``In terms of the magnitude of the game, it was just another regular-season game. But it was a lot of fun to keep pushing the envelope when I’m pretty sure most of the fans and personnel thought the game was over. We kept making plays to almost sneak out of here with (a victory).’’
- Also according to Stats, LLC, the combined 76 points for Afflalo and Davis tied for the fourth-most by a Magic duo in a game. O’Neal and Hardaway accounted for 79 and 78 points during the 1996 and 1994 seasons. On Jan. 13, 1990, Terry Catledge scored 49 points and Reggie Theus chipped in 28 for 77 points. Former Magic guard Tracy McGrady was involved in two 76-point efforts by an Orlando duo, scoring a franchise record 62 points on March 10, 2004 and 44 with 32 from Drew Gooden on Jan. 16, 2004.
``After missing almost a year of basketball, I feel like I’m doing pretty OK. But I’ve got to do more in order for this team to win big,’’ Davis said of his 6-12 Magic. ``We’re not that far out of the playoff race in that 10th spot. It’s still early. (Tuesday) we were down a couple of men (to injuries), but we’ve got to get those type of ball games. It’s just disappointing for us to play like that and lose.’’
- According to ESPN Stats and Info, Oladipo and Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams became the first rookies in NBA history to record their first triple-doubles in the same game. Both do-everything point guards were phenomenal all night with Oladipo contributing 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, while Carter-Williams chipped in 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. The biggest difference in their stats was that Oladipo had just three turnovers in 51 minutes, while Carter-Williams fumbled the ball away seven times in 46 minutes.
Oladipo’s triple-double was the 19th in Magic history and the first by an Orlando rookie since Hardaway did it with 14 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds on April 15, 1994. ``No question, you dream about stuff like this, but you dream about different outcomes,’’ said Oladipo, who made eight of 18 shots and 10 of 12 free throws and added three steals. ``To be able to play in an atmosphere like that, it was a blessing. I would have liked to have won, but we played well.’’
- Afflalo became just the sixth player in the NBA this season to score 40 points in a game, joining Carmelo Anthony (45), Paul George (43), Chris Paul (42), Kevin Durant (42) and Kyrie Irving (41). Afflalo made 10 jumpers and five 3-pointers for in his career-best scoring night. He topped the 36 points he scored earlier in the season against Milwaukee and topped 30 points for a fourth time in this breakout season.
``He’s a guy who has brought it every single night for us and in practice as well,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said of Afflalo. ``We’ve talked about his approach of being dialed-in, whether it’s a coverage on defense or what we’re running (on offense) and getting guys in the right place. He’s been extraordinary for us.’’
The taxing, 3-hour and 12-minute game came as the Magic were playing their second game in as many nights and in the midst of the longest (in terms of days) road trip in the franchise’s 25-year history. The good news, however, is that the Magic have Wednesday and Thursday off before playing the New York Knicks on Friday. Vaughn gave his team Wednesday completely off and the squad is scheduled to go through a light workout on Thursday.
Orlando is hoping to have more firepower by Friday’s game. Nelson has missed the past three games with a sprained foot, but he’s increased the intensity of his workouts of late and hopes to practice on Thursday. Vucevic sprained his left ankle on Monday in Washington, D.C., when he accidentally stepped on the foot of a courtside cameraman. He said the injury isn’t serious and he hopes to play against the Knicks.
Those injuries forced Afflalo, Davis and Oladipo to be extra aggressive on Tuesday night in Philadelphia and their do-everything efforts almost lifted Orlando to one of the most improbable victories in franchise history.
Down eight points in the fourth quarter, Afflalo and Davis sparked a rally with clutch 3-pointers. Davis’ 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in regulation was his first of the season and he had the wherewithal to head-fake Carter-Williams before resetting for the balanced shot that tied it at 104 and forced overtime.
``I was shooting the ball really, really well and I was open on that play,’’ Davis recalled. ``When you are shooting the ball really, really well you don’t have any conscience. I shot it and it went in. I wasn’t really thinking and I was just playing.’’
Orlando trailed by five in the first overtime, but Afflalo would not let his Magic surrender defeat easily. He had a three-point play with 1:19 to play and then he calmly buried three free throws in a row to knot the game at 118 with 12 seconds left after getting fouled by Evan Turner.
``That’s just Arron. He’s been in this league a little while and he comes and does what he needs to do,’’ Oladipo gushed. ``When he plays at a high level, we play at a high level.’’
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn’s voice was raspy from a cold and the marathon game, but he thanked his players for the grit and fight that they showed on Tuesday in Philadelphia. It was quite a turnaround from a night earlier in Washington, D.C. when Orlando mustered just 80 points and lost by 18 points.
But on Tuesday, no one could question Orlando’s desire to fight to the final horn – even if it came much later than many expected. Oladipo said there was plenty to be encouraged by even in defeat and he hopes that the epic game has an effect on the Magic’s focus going forward.
``There was just a will to win, and no matter what happened we had to keep going and going and going,’’ he said. ``We played well together and we have to build off this and keep getting better. It’s all a process. (Monday in Washington) we could have played way better. (Tuesday night) we play stronger and we’ve got to be consistent with playing strong.’’
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