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Ross Superb Defensively Against Heat

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

ORLANDO – Early in the fourth quarter as the Magic began to gain momentum against their rivals from the south, Terrence Ross had, arguably, the best defensive sequence of his career.

The 27-year-old, who the Magic acquired about a year and a half ago largely because of his underrated defensive skills, blocked Hassan Whiteside, not once but twice.

Mohamed Bamba, Whiteside’s defender on the play, deserves credit, too. He used those long arms of his to obstruct Whiteside’s view of the basket and may have even gotten his fingertips on the Miami big man’s final shot attempt of the possession.

Ross, now in his seventh NBA season, has mostly been known for his streaky outside shooting and high-flying athleticism throughout his career.

Yet, it’s on the defensive side of the floor where he usually makes his biggest impact.

The Magic outscored the Heat by 16 when Ross, the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, was on the court. To go along with four blocked shots and two steals, the former Washington Husky had several deflections and did an outstanding job contesting perimeter shots.

Perhaps what was most impressive about his overall performance was that he didn’t let a 2-for-9 shooting night psych him out defensively, something that will make head coach Steve Clifford and his coaching staff extremely proud.

Injured for most of last season, Ross being back and healthy is a huge boost for the Magic, who held the Heat to 39.2 percent shooting from the floor and 27.3 percent from 3-point distance.

Don’t be surprised if Ross and teammate Jonathan Isaac, Josh Richardson’s on-ball defender when the Heat’s sharpshooter stepped out of bounds in the closing seconds, both rank in the top 10 this season in deflections. Both have unbelievably good instincts and anticipation.

Check out a few more of Ross’ terrific defensive moments from Wednesday’s thrilling victory: