Recap: Jazz 97, Magic 93

December 23, 2012

Any fanbase could become easily discouraged after back-to-back close losses.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of the ‘What If Game’ or play the role of Monday-Morning Quarterback. But for Magic fans, it’s important to put things into perspective.

Despite the recent loss of veteran standout Glen Davis (shoulder) and the extended absences of Hedo Turkoglu (hand) and Al Harrington (knee), the Magic have found ways to be competitive, be in tight games and develop their young talent in the process.

Orlando’s rotation featured seven players in their first or second year in the league on Sunday – that’s right, seven – and nearly all of them made quality contributions.

The brightest performance came courtesy of Nikola Vucevic, who went 7-for-10 from the floor on his way to 16 points and 16 rebounds.

“He has been extremely consistent and has a great approach every single day,” Magic Head Coach Jacque Vaughn explained.

However, over the last six contests, Vucevic has not only been consistent, he’s been consistently great. The Magic’s starting center has notched at least 11 rebounds in the team’s last six contests, the second-longest active streak in the NBA.

“I just got aggressive on the boards,” he said. “I’m the biggest guy on the team, so I have to do that in order for us to have a chance to win.”

When Orlando dealt away six-time All-Star center Dwight Howard, few people thought that they could find a viable replacement so quickly. However, in just his second year in the league, Vucevic is proving that his ceiling could be a lot higher than expected.

And that’s something to be excited about.

"It's pretty simple. You outrebound them, you shoot 50 percent from the field, make nine threes (and then) have 20 turnovers for 22 points. The game is really that simple." - Jacque Vaughn on how turnovers plagued the Magic in their loss to the Jazz.
This Statline of the Night goes to Nikola Vucevic. Not only did the second-year center have 16 points, 16 rebounds, one assist and one block, but he also helped limit Al Jefferson to a 12-point night. In their first head-to-head battle this season, Jefferson scored 31.
Photo courtesy of Fernando Medina. | Photo Gallery

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