By John Denton
April 10, 2013
The play of Harris and Vucevic allowed the Magic to become the first NBA team to have at least two players with 30 points and 19 rebounds in a game in 46 years. The last team to do it was the Baltimore Bullets on March 15, 1967, when Willis Reed had 31 points and 21 rebounds and Walt Bellamy added 32 points and 22 boards.
``Even though we’ve lost a lot of close games the whole year, this was great for us and our team still has confidence,’’ said Vucevic, who now has a 30/20 game to go with his three 20/20 games this season. ``We just kept fighting.’’
The Magic’s clutch play late also ruined the return of Redick, a fan favorite in Orlando for 6 ½ seasons before he was shipped to Milwaukee. Redick finished with 16 points in 42 minutes for the Bucks (37-41). Redick struggled shooting the ball most of the night making just six of 16 shots and only one of seven 3-pointers.
During the first timeout in the first quarter, the Magic played a video tribute for Redick, highlighting the day he was drafted by the franchise in 2006 and his participation on the 2009 NBA Finals team. The crowd rose and cheered Redick, who acknowledged the ovation with a wave. The Amway Center video board also showed Redick’s wife, Chelsea, wiping away tears during the video montage.
``Just a classy, classy gesture on the part of the Magic, and something that I will remember the rest of my life for sure,’’ Redick said of the video tribute and the standing ovation. ``I’m just very appreciative of the gesture. It was awesome.’’
Orlando won despite trailing 93-88 with 52 seconds to play. Harris hit his third 3-pointer of the night as he was being fouled by Marquis Daniels with 1.9 seconds to play to elicit a roar from the crowd. However, the 78 percent free throw shooter missed on the free throw, forcing the extra period. Harris had four points in the overtime to lift Orlando to the win.
``My whole focus with nine seconds left was I was going to shoot the three,’’ Harris recalled. ``I heard them scream at the end, `Foul, foul, foul,’ and I just let it go. I should have made the free throw though. I’ll be working on my free throws a lot next practice. It was good just to go to overtime, get experience for us as a team and close out that win.’’
Joked Orlando’s Maurice Harkless, who had 14 points in 51 minutes: ``I told (Harris) that he’s not clutch. I was just messing with him and trying to make him laugh because (missing free throws) happens. He made that (tying 3-pointer) and if he didn’t who knows what would have happened.’’
The Magic were back at the Amway Center following a five-game, 10-day trip all of last week. Orlando has just three games remaining – Saturday at home against Boston, Monday at home versus Chicago and Wednesday in Miami.
Used exclusively as a reserve in Milwaukee, Redick came off the bench and entered the game with 5:47 left in the first quarter. However, he started the second half when the Bucks lost standout point guard Brandon Jennings early in the game because of a sore left Achilles’ tendon. Milwaukee was also without steadily improving center Larry Sanders in the second half after he took a hard fall to the floor and injured his lower back.
Orlando let Milwaukee claw back into the game in the third period, briefly losing the lead before moving back ahead 70-66 by the start of the fourth. It’s the third consecutive game that Orlando has led after each of the first three quarters.
As was the case Sunday in Cleveland, the Magic got themselves in trouble in the third period by being unable to defend without fouling. Orlando committed eight fouls in the third period alone, giving Milwaukee eight free throws (and six makes).
The Magic jumped on a weary Bucks team early on, racing to a 14-point first-quarter lead. However, there was some slippage in the offensive execution in the second quarter and Orlando’s lead was down to 48-45 by halftime.
On the heels of a 21-point, 21-rebound performance in Cleveland on Sunday, Vucevic nearly recoded his team-best 43rd double-double by halftime. He had 10 points and seven rebounds in the first quarter alone and headed to the locker room at halftime with 14 points and nine boards. He meshed well with Udrih (four first-half assists) and Vucevic also contributed three assists and two blocks in the early going for a dominating first-half performance.
``I’ve been working on (his post game) the whole year since I came here, just trying to get better in the post,’’ Vucevic said. ``As the year has gone on I’ve gotten more confident on being able to make plays in the post, be a scorer, pass the ball and do different things. There are still several things that I have to get better at. I feel confident, but I still have some work to do.’’
As has been the case much of his time in Milwaukee so far, Redick struggled to find his bearings early in the game. He was frustrated a couple of times early on when no player came to screen for him when he had the ball on the wing. He did make two of six shots and had five points in the first half.
The Bucks lost Jennings and Sanders in the first half because of injuries. Jennings played just six minutes before leaving with a sore Achilles tendon. Sanders hit the floor hard after a foul by Orlando’s Andrew Nicholson and injured his back and tailbone. He limped through 15 minutes of the first half, but did not return after the break. Second-year center John Henson picked up the slack early on with nine points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots in the first half.
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn raved about the mental toughness of his squad to fight through the many emotional swings of Wednesday’s game and still find a way to win.
``It’s a long game and you just have to continue to play,’’ Vaughn said. ``Coach is going to continue to ask you to do more and more. Maurice (Harkless) plays 51 minutes and I still want him to get every rebound and run the floor every single time. We’ll continue to ask more of our guys and that’s OK. They didn’t give in tonight and that was great.’’
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