Recap: Heat 112, Magic 110 (OT)
December 31, 2012
The short-term affects of a close loss to the defending champion Miami Heat are obvious.
Feelings of disappointment, thoughts second-guessing certain decisions and constant overanalyzing can easily overwhelm a fanbase.
However, if you’re able to overlook the instant pain of a tight overtime defeat, there are plenty of long-term positives that emerge to the forefront
For starters, the Magic continue to get amazing production out of their youngsters.
Nikola Vucevic was dominant. In fact, he did something as an Orlando center that Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard have never done: grab 29 rebounds in game.
The second-year standout was all over the glass, setting a new franchise record by collecting 11 offensive rebounds to go along with 18 defensive boards.
“I am extremely proud of him,” Magic Head Coach Jacque Vaughn said. “In my young career as a coach there are some satisfying moments and to see him play like that and respond that way, pretty satisfying.”
However, he didn’t stop there. Vucevic also contributed by notching a career-high 20 points, three steals, two assists and two blocked shots.
“He had a heck of a night,” Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra explained. “We liked his game when he was in Philly. He’s a physical guy, but he’s skilled at the same time.”
But the seven-footer was not the only member of the Magic’s youth movement to put up numbers. Rookies Andrew Nicholson and DeQuan Jones also made their presence felt.
Nicholson fired off 10 points, while Jones – who got the start tonight at small forward – posted six points and did a solid job of defending reigning MVP LeBron James.
In addition to the phenomenal production from the youngsters, another positive was that the injury-riddled Magic rebounded from a tough loss to Toronto by taking the Heat to overtime and falling only in the final seconds.
Without Jameer Nelson (hip), Glen Davis (shoulder), E’Twaun Moore (elbow), Gustavo Ayon (thigh) and Al Harrington (knee), it would have been easy for Orlando to lay down to an overwhelmingly loaded Miami squad.
Instead, they gave 53 minutes of intense effort and grew as a unit in the process.
“That team has a bright future,” Spoelstra added. “We want to make sure when we play them this year their future isn’t now, because they’ve got some young talent and they compete and they’re coached well.”
"We really showed a lot of resolve tonight and a lot of fight and I hope that our fans appreciated it and I'm proud of our effort tonight." - Magic Head Coach Jacque Vaughn|
|This Statline of the Night goes to J.J. Redick, since Nikola Vucevic has already been featured. However, it should not go unnoticed that the Magic guard went a scorching 9-for-13 from the field on his way to 23 points, while also dishing out five assists.|
Follow Dan Savage on Twitter here