By John Denton
February 27, 2013
``That’s just an excuse because (the Kings) played (Tuesday) too and they played two overtimes,’’ said veteran point guard Beno Udrih, refusing to blame the loss on a hangover from Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia. ``Maybe we played hard, but they played harder. We could play harder. They wanted it more because they lost yesterday and we won. I guess we were not what we can be. We have a lot of talent and potential but we have to bring it every night.’’
Harris, acquired at the trade deadline last week along with Beno Udrih and Doron Lamb, made nine of 12 shots and four of five free throws for his third double-digit scoring night in a Magic uniform.
Arron Afflalo had 15 points, while Udrih chipped in 14 points and seven assists. Udrih, a nine-year veteran point guard, has 23 assists in three games with the Magic. Maurice Harkless had 12 points, while E’Twaun Moore scored nine of his 11 points in the first three minutes of the game.
Said Udrih: ``I put all of my stats on the side when the team losses. I’d rather have zero, zero and zero and the team wins. So hopefully the next game we can be aggressive, play harder on defense and the offense will come.’’
Magic center Nikola Vucevic, who entered the game third in the NBA in rebounding, grabbed a season-low two rebounds. A night after scoring 12 points and grabbing 19 rebounds, Vucevic missed five of seven shots and scored just four points.
The game was a far cry from a night earlier in Philadelphia when the Magic shot 53.9 percent, handed out 33 assists and placed six players in double figures. But on this night, Orlando trailed by 14 at the end of the first quarter, by 23 at halftime and by 30 after three periods.
A night after making his Magic debut following 10 months of rehabilitation from four knee surgeries, Al Harrington had three points and four rebounds in 12 minutes. He scored nine points in Tuesday’s fourth quarter and said his surgically repaired right knee felt sound throughout the back-to-back set of games.
``Obviously it meant a lot to me just being out there and I’m trying to cherish the moments,’’ Harrington said. ``Being able to play again is cool, but at the end of the day the game is about wins and losses. We wanted to win and it’s unfortunate we ran into a hot team tonight. They hit a lot of jump shots and we adjust to that and they get a layup. It’s just one of those nights where we couldn’t get a stop.’’
After playing the Tuesday/Wednesday back-to-back, the Magic will be off on Thursday. Orlando will host the Houston Rockets and high-scoring guard James Harden on Friday at the Amway Center.
Orlando started the game well, getting three early 3-pointers from E’Twaun Moore to race to a 13-7 lead and send the Kings into a timeout. But the game inexplicably turned there with the Kings outscoring the Magic 29-9 for a 36-22 first quarter lead. Sacramento ultimately pushed it lead to as much as 25 points in the second quarter and led 67-44 at the intermission.
The 67 points allowed by the Magic tied for most points a foe scored in the first half this season versus Orlando. Toronto also put up 67 in a first half on Dec. 29. The Kings shot 62.2 percent in the first half, while the Magic hit just 35.7 percent and turned the ball over nine times (leading to 15 Sacramento points).
Showing no signs of fatigue from a two-overtime loss in Miami a night earlier, Sacramento outran the Magic for several easy baskets in the first half. The Kings scored 28 points in the paint and 10 on the fastbreak in the first 24 minutes, allowing them to shoot better than 60 percent much of the first half.
``You really have to learn that quick in this league,’’ Vaughn said, referring to the Magic’s hangover from Tuesday’s win in Philadelphia. ``It’s one of those things you can’t learn until you go through it. Sometimes on that second night you need to have even more focus and try to impose your will. They played (Tuesday) night also. At the beginning of the game you want to impose your will and that’s a lesson for us going forward.’’
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