Denton's Dish: The 5th Quarter (3/23/14)

Victor Oladipo

By John Denton
March 23, 2014

LOS ANGELES – Playing on the second night of a back-to-back set of games and at the end of a frustrating seven-night, four-game road trip, the Orlando Magic fizzled in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Lakers pulled away for a 103-94 victory.

Here are five takeaways from Orlando’s game at the Staples Center:

KEY STRETCH OF THE GAME: Within two points after three quarters and trailing 83-80 with 7 minutes to play, Orlando seemed in position to capture its first road victory of the season against a Western Conference foe. However, the Magic had no answer for the inside-outside duo of Jordan Hill and Nick Young down the stretch as the Lakers coasted to the victory.

Hill outplayed Orlando inside all night and pounded the Magic for 28 points and 13 rebounds. Four of his boards came on the offensive end to break the spirit of the Magic.

The well-traveled Young got up 17 shots and he actually made eight of them. He also found a way to get to the free throw line nine times with eight makes for a 26-point effort.

Their hustle kept alive several possessions for the Lakers and doomed Orlando in the final period.

``(Hill) made an impact on the game with his energy and effort,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said of Hill, who made up for the second-half loss of Pau Gasol (illness). ``Whether it was duck ins, offensive rebounds or being aggressive at the rim, he hurt us. Give him credit for giving his team some answers tonight.’’

MAGIC MAKER: Starting his third straight game at point guard in place of the injured Jameer Nelson (sore left knee), rookie Victor Oladipo had several flashes of greatness in the game.

He handed out assists on five of Orlando’s first eight baskets. His ability to penetrate the lane and get the ball to Arron Afflalo (18 points and two 3-pointers) or Kyle O’Quinn (14 points) was a boon for the Magic in the early going.

For the game, Oladipo scored 21 points and handed out 10 assists. He was highly efficient with his shot as well, making six of 11 shots, two of four 3-pointers and seven of nine free throws.

``I’m getting more and more comfortable (at point guard) as the year goes along,’’ Oladipo said. ``I might have some lulls and some ups and downs, but if I keep working hard eventually I will be consistent.’’

Now, the bad: Oladipo tied a season high for turnovers with eight. Five of those miscues came in the second half as the Magic were trying to stay within striking distance of the Lakers.

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW: Some 24 hours later, after having replayed the video footage of the final sequence in Utah, Vaughn was actually quite pleased with Orlando’s defense. Orlando lost on Saturday when Jazz point guard Trey Burke drilled a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds to play off a feed from a driving Gordon Hayward.

Orlando guard Victor Oladipo was guarding Burke on the play, but left him briefly to impede the roll of center Derrick Favors. Hayward got into the paint and kicked the ball to Burke for a corner 3 that Oladipo nearly blocked.

``Great defense. Favors was rolling down the lane and Victor did his job of getting a piece of Favors,’’ Vaughn said of the final play. ``It was an unbelievable contest and effort by Victor. I don’t see how he didn’t block the shot or get a piece of it. It was unbelievable defense.’’

QUOTABLE: ``It’s frustrating when you are trying not to do the wrong thing and bad things just happen. I can correct those turnovers. I could see if I was going out there trying to make crazy passes and doing stuff that isn’t there. So I can correct a lot of the turnovers. If you want to take a good out of a bad, that’s it.’’ – Oladipo on the turnover woes

KEY STAT: For the first time in their 25-year history, the Magic went winless against the Western Conference on the road. The Magic beat four Western Conference teams at home – Oklahoma City, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans and the Lakers – but they did not win west of the Mississippi River all season. They went 0-4 on this road trip, losing to the Warriors, Suns, Jazz and Lakers.

Orlando is 4-24 against teams from the West with home games still remaining against Portland (Tuesday) and Minnesota (April 5).