Denton's Dish: The 5th Quarter (3/22/14)
By John Denton
March 22, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY – Just seconds after Orlando guard Victor Oladipo had put his Orlando squad ahead, Utah rookie Trey Burke drilled a corner 3-pointer that lifted the Jazz to an 89-88 defeat of the hard-luck Magic.
Here are five takeaways from the Magic’s game at Energy Solutions Arena on Saturday night:
KEY MOMENT OF THE GAME: In a sequence that looked so much like the battles they had last season when Oladipo was at Indiana and Burke was at Michigan, the two top rookies took over the game down the stretch.
Oladipo took a feed from Arron Afflalo and drilled an 18-foot shot over Burke to put Orlando up 83-81 with 29 seconds to play.
``Double-A did a good job of driving and kicking and I just tried to go hard right and come back to my sweet spot where I feel like I can hit a shot,’’ Oladipo said of his shot. ``It was just a good play.’’ After Oladipo and Afflalo made two free throws apiece, Afflalo misfired on the second of two tries with 11.9 seconds remaining – giving Burke an opening.
Gordon Hayward (14 points and six assists) drove hard into the lane and Oladipo sucked in to impede Derrick Favors, who was rolling to the rim after setting a pick. That freed up Burke, who got off a high-arcing shot over the extended arms of Oladipo for the go-ahead basket.
``I had to help because big Favors was going to get a dunk,’’ Oladipo said. ``I had to help and get back at the same time. I think I did a good job of helping, but I could have gotten there (on Burke) just a split-second sooner. I did a good job of contesting, but (Burke) has hit big shots before. He just hit another good shot again today.’’
Oladipo’s Indiana squad beat Burke’s Michigan Wolverines twice last season. However, Burke edged Oladipo for both the Big 10 Player of the Year award and the Wooden National Player of the Year trophy.
UP AND DOWN START: The start to the game was filled with several highs and lows for second-year Magic forward Maurice Harkless.
On the positive side, Harkless had a dunk in transition and he stuffed a Richard Jefferson dunk attempt high above the rim.
However, Harkless had big-time difficulties keeping up with Jefferson on the defensive end. Jefferson got free for four 3-pointers in the first quarter alone, including one time when he pump-faked to let Harkless fly by before putting up the shot. And with nine seconds left in the first quarter, Harkless drilled Jefferson on a 3-point shot and the subsequent three free throws put the Jazz up 27-16 at the end of the first quarter.
Harkless didn’t let the slow start get him down. He rallied for 15 points, four rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. His steal and dunk with 1:10 to play tied the game at 81-all.
QUOTABLE: ``Doing this against each other if you think about it. We’re both going to continue getting better. There’s definitely going to be more interesting games down the road in our careers, I know it will always be competitive going against him and he feels the same way. We’ll always be going at each other trying to get a win for each other. And at the end of the day, we’ll always have a mutual respect for each other.’’ – Oladipo on his rivalry and friendship with Burke
BIZARRE BREAK: Favors made a layup with 12.5 seconds remaining to get the Jazz to within 87-86 of the Magic. Orlando in-bounded the ball to Afflalo, but no time went off the clock.
Afflalo stepped to the free throw line and made the first try to put the Magic ahead by two points. Referee Bennett Salvatore then realized the clock error and ordered a review. He changed the time remaining to 11.9 seconds, but the delay took more than 3 minutes, effectively icing Afflalo, who missed the next shot. Afflalo refused to blame the miss on the replay delay.
``Nahh, I just missed it,’’ said Afflalo, who had 18 points. ``When it left my hand it felt a little strong, but I still thought it was going to go in. I just missed it.’’
KEY STAT: Before making their big shots, Oladipo was four of 13 from the floor and Burke was four of 14. Early in the game, Oladipo missed six of his first eight shots, while Burke was off on five of his first six tries.