By John Denton
December 3, 2012
The game featured seven ties and seven lead changes in the first three quarters, but the fourth belonged to the surging Magic. The Magic made three 3-pointers in the final quarter and got several key baskets from Davis, Afflalo and Redick down the stretch to cruise to the victory.
``J.J. was great and his ability to shoot the ball is the great equalizer,’’ Vaughn said. ``And at the same time, he’s grown into being a great passer. We have two bigs (Davis and Vucevic) who can finish. And with Jameer and Arron, that’s a good group for us to have on the floor.’’
Added Redick: ``It’s just making the right play and it’s something that I talk a lot about with guys. … It’s something as we get better, we’re going to make the right plays more and more. At the end of the game, it’s a compliment to hear that (the coach wants the ball in his hands). Thanks, Jacque.’’
Before the game, Golden State coach Mark Jackson was highly complimentary of the job that Vaughn has done in keeping the Magic competitive following the August trade of Dwight Howard. Like Vaughn, Jackson spent his playing time as a point guard and he marveled at the freedom that the Magic coach has allowed his team to play with so far this season.
``He’s done a very good job. I’ve known Jacque playing against him and spent some time with him during those years as competitors playing the same position. I certainly respected his knowledge of the game and the way he was always ready and a coach on the floor,’’ Jackson said. ``(Vaughn) has done an outstanding job getting that team to compete. They could have very easily said, `Let’s wait another year or two years.’ But that’s not when you start coaching; you start coaching now with laying the foundation. Really happy for (Vaughn) and the job he has done in Orlando.’’
The Magic shot less than 40 percent in the first three quarters (38.9 percent), but they headed into the fourth period tied at 69-all by playing harder than the Warriors.
Vaughn has stressed to his team to ``stay in the now,’’ and it was never more apparent that the Magic had moved on from Sunday’s win in L.A. than in the first half. The Magic shot just 39.2 percent in the first two quarters, but they still led 51-47 at the half by simply playing harder.
``To be on a back-to-back and come back and do the things that we did tonight, it was really big for us,’’ said Davis, who made 10 of 20 shots and all four of his free throws. ``It shows people a lot about our team and the strides that we’ve made the last couple of days. We just want to keep capitalizing and keep getting wins.’’
Vucevic’s work on the boards – nine first-half rebounds and six on the offensive end – allowed the Magic to outscore the Warriors 13-3 in second-chance points. For Vucevic, a first-half performance in which he had 11 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots was a carryover from his strong play on Sunday against Howard. He played with more confidence and conviction, twice finishing at the rim with thunderous dunks.
``Considering I struggled a little bit before this roadtrip, it’s really good that I’ve been able to pick it up,’’ Vucevic said. ``My teammates kept believing in me, kept passing me the ball and I’m finishing better now because I’m more aggressive.’’
The Magic led 28-27 early on following a furious finish to the first quarter. Vucevic dunked and was foul and completed the three-point play with 1.8 seconds left in the quarter. Afflalo then tipped the in-bounds pass to Davis, who buried a 22-footer at the horn to give Orlando its first lead.
Two games into the longest trip of the year and the Magic already have two very impressive wins. Last week, the Magic were slumping and losers of three straight games. But the power of two wins has been immense and the team is believing anything is possible once again.
``We’re trying to win one game in a time and work with what we have here to work with,’’ Davis said. ``We’re trying to play together as a team and that’s what we’re really doing well right now.’’
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