Denton: Magic vs. Pacers Analysis (2/9/14)


By John Denton
Feb. 9, 2014

ORLANDO – Two nights removed from toppling the Western Conference leader in fantastic fashion, the Orlando Magic pulled off a sequel for the ages against the leaders from the East that was again shocking to the senses.

Two games, two of the most impressive wins not only in this Magic season, but in the NBA as a whole.

Down 17 points in the second half, just as they were two nights earlier in the shocking upset of Oklahoma City, the Magic rode the emotional wave provided rookie Victor Oladipo, center Nikola Vucevic and forward Maurice Harkless to flip the script on the seemingly impenetrable Indiana Pacers. Orlando used great teamwork, defensive intensity and a roaring Amway Center crowd to put together a game-turning 24-7 fourth-quarter run and it held on in the tense moments for a 93-92 defeat of the Pacers.

``Today, going into the fourth quarter, (Coach Jacque Vaughn) simply told us: `Whoever plays harder is going to win the game. If you want to win, you’ll play harder than them,’’’ said Oladipo, who played all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter for a second straight game. ``That second unit, we just went out and played hard, and most of all we played D. We let our defense juice our offense.’’

The Magic were coming off a thrilling 103-102 defeat of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday on Tobias Harris’ dunk just before the buzzer. The Thunder came into that game as the NBA’s only 40-game winner, but they came unglued in the fourth quarter against the rapidly improving Magic.


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