Denton's Notebook: Wednesday, Jan. 2


By John Denton
January 2, 2013

 

ORLANDO – Rare is it that Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic plays a game without talking to his father, Borislav Vucevic, afterward for a postgame critique.

The analysis isn’t always gumdrops and rainbows from Borislav, who knows a thing or two about playing professional basketball. He played professionally for 24 years – until the age of 44 – in Europe and was on the Yugoslavia National Team with Hall of Famer Drazen Petrovic.

Nikola and Borislav talked on Tuesday after Nikola shattered a Magic franchise record for rebounds in a game with 29. His effort, which also included him scoring a career-best 20 points and grabbing 11 of his rebounds on the offensive end, broke Shaquille O’Neal’s 19-year-old team record of 28 rebounds set in 1993.

``That was maybe the first time in a long time that he didn’t really have anything bad to say. He was like, `Good job, I can’t really say anything after you got 29 boards,’’’ Vucevic said of his postgame talk with his dad. ``He always tells me that I have to get rebounds. He’ll say, `Some games you are going to get five, 10 or 20 points, but you can always get rebounds. You are the biggest guy out there.’ So he was happy that I had a lot of rebounds and that I broke Shaq’s record.’’

Vucevic had 20 rebounds by the start of the fourth quarter and he put himself in range of the record with an effort where he got four rebounds on one play. He missed two tips and a layup before finally flicking the ball in with his left hand.

``I watched it a couple of times to see how many (rebounds) I had there,’’ Vucevic said with a laugh. ``It was a lot of tips and I was really tired after that play. I have a really high reach and I didn’t have to really jump to get it and after three or four tips I was so tired and just wanted to get it in.’’

GETTING BETTER: A sprained elbow kept E’Twaun Moore out of Wednesday’s night game against the Chicago Bulls, the team he grew up rooting for while being raised in East Chicago, Ind.

Moore said that he’s noticed significant improvement a left elbow that he hyper-extended last Friday in Washington when his arm was pinned down on the floor during a scrum for a loose ball. Moore initially feared that his arm was broken or that he has suffered significant damage in his elbow, but tests showed no structural damage.

Moore, who has evolved into an important piece for the Magic this season while averaging 8.9 points a game, missed his third straight game on Wednesday. He doesn’t have a timetable on when doctors will allow him to resume basketball-related activities.

``Yeah, it’s getting better every day and I’m just trying to get it healthier and see how I feel,’’ Moore said. ``They haven’t said an exact time, but it’s just about when I can move it the right way and it doesn’t hurt. I’m able to move it now without as much pain, so it’s getting better.’’

ETC: Magic shooting guard Arron Afflalo is in one of the best stretches of his career, averaging 21.3 points over the last six games, including four efforts of 20 points or more. In 16 games in December, he averaged 19.2 points on 46.9 percent shooting. There’s only one caveat that isn’t allowing Afflalo to totally enjoy one of the best stretches of his career. Said Afflalo: ``I’m trying not to highlight (his scoring binge) because we’re 0-6 right now. But I want to continue to always raise my game. The key for me is being consistent.’’ … One footnote to Vucevic’s record-setting day against the Miami Heat was that he did so while wearing a model of LeBron James’ Nike shoe. Vucevic said that James and several members of the Heat had nice words for him after the game, making the day even more meaningful to him. Said Vucevic: ``It means a lot because those guys are NBA champions and everybody knows that LeBron is the best player in the NBA. (James) told me after that I had a he game and that was big for me. It means a lot coming from him, it means a lot for my confidence and it will make me work harder going forward.’’ … The Magic will practice Thursday and Friday before hosting the New York Knicks on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Magic will then depart on Sunday for a four-game, nine-day with games against Portland, Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Washington Wizards.

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