The Magic ended a 13-game losing streak with a 110-104 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at the Amway Arena on Feb. 10, 2013.
The Magic played inspired basketball and moved the ball very well, recording 34 assists on their 47 field goals, as Jameer Nelson dished out 15 and big man Gustavo Ayon showed great passing skills, as well, recording four assists.
The Magic got big games from all rotation players, and though the backcourt struggled shooting the ball, the Magic were able to snag a lot of the misses. Orlando had 17 offensive rebounds, and six of them came from center Nikola Vucevic.
Here’s a look at the individual performance of the Magic’s players:
Power Forward: Andrew Nicholson
Andrew Nicholson hit the first Magic basket, a hook coming across the paint. Nicholson follows it up with a jumper from the top of the key for his second shot. They go back to Nicholson on the baseline but he misses his third shot, a jumper. Nicholson was the first Magic player in double figures with 10 points by the 6:24 mark of the second quarter.
Nicholson scored only four points the following two-and a half quarters, and finished the game with 14 points and five rebounds. He did a decent job while covering LaMarcus Aldridge, but there’s little most power forwards can do with Aldridge. The Portland forward scored 25 on 12-of-21 shooting.
Nicholson can now celebrate a win along with his selection to the Rising Stars Challenge.
Grade: B -
Small Forward: Maurice Harkless
Maurice Harkless attacked the basket on the right wing to score the second Magic bucket of the game. He didn’t score again until the four minute mark of the third quarter on a baseline drive.
The Magic used Harkless at times on Damian Lillard and he did phenomenally well with the assignment. Lillard missed his first nine shots of the night and turned it over four times, though Jameer Nelson was covering Lillard part of the time. Harkless scored just four points, but made a couple nice drives to the basket and played solid defense. He needs to continue to take Aaron Afflalo’s advice, though, and be more aggressive.
Point Guard: Jameer Nelson
Jameer Nelson, 0-4 from field with four assists and two turnovers in his first 12 minutes of play. Nelson finished the first half 0-of-7 from the floor but hit two of his first five shots in the second half. Nelson had nine assists through the first three quarters, hitting Nikola Vucevic in a variety of pick and roll and pick and pop situations.
Nelson finished 4-of-18 from the floor, but dished out 15 assists as he hooked up with Nikola Vucevic repeatedly in pick and rolls.
Shooting Guard: Aaron Afflalo
Aaron Afflalo missed his only two shots of the first quarter, and the Magic went on a run when he checked out of the game. Afflalo shot 4-of-6 from the floor in the third quarter including a three-pointer from the corner, and helped the Magic maintain their halftime lead. He hit only one field goal in the fourth and allowed Wes Matthews to score 17.
Center: Nikola Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic entered the game No. 4 in the NBA in rebounds per game. First bucket came off a Jameer Nelson pick and roll at the 6 minute mark of the first quarter. He grabbed two defensive rebounds in the first six minutes of the quarter.
Following his first bucket, he scored on a Jameer Nelson alley oop pass which led to a soft lay-in off the glass. Vucevic cleaned up on a tipped rebound for a flush to draw the Magic within nine (21-12, 3:25 1st quarter).
J.J. Hickson starts hot for Portland, scoring the first four points of the game. Hickson scored six of Portland’s first 10. Hickson checked out with six points in 7.5 minutes.
LaMarcus Aldridge drew the assignment of covering Vucevic when Hickson checked out of the game, while rookieMeyers Leonard matched up against fellow rook Kyle O’Quinn. Gustavo Ayon checked in for Vucevic with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter, but Vucevic would replace Kyle O’Quinn one minute later.
Vucevic hit an 18-foot jumper to open the second quarter, and he had nine points and six rebounds by the 11:17 mark of the quarter. Vucevic scored 17 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, six of which were offensive. A great game from a great young talent who is only getting better with each passing game.
Sixth Man: J.J. Redick
J.J. Redick scored his first bucket on a pick and roll/give and go with Gustavo Ayon, which cut the lead to six points with a minute to go in the first quarter. Redick then came off a screen and aggressively continued through the paint to draw a foul and complete a three-point play.
Redick picked up another three-point play on a take past Wes Matthews at the 3:53 mark of the second quarter for his 10th point in eight minutes. Then, Redick picked up his traditional three, hitting a jumper from the top of the arc to give the Magic a 49-46 lead.
Redick had 15 points in the first half and the Magic were plus-10 while Redick was on the court. Redick scored seven in the second half to finish with a team-high 22 points. He had the highest plus-minus of all Magic players, too, at plus-12.
Redick’s trade value just continues to rise.
Gustavo Ayon had another nice dish in the second quarter to Andrew Nicholson, as he flipped it behind his back to Nicholson for an easy layup. Ayon picked up his fourth assist on a pass to a cutting Nikola Vucevic, and the Magic were plus-13 with Ayon on the court in the first half.
Ayon continued to make big plays hitting a jumper off an Andrew Nicholson dish which gave the Magic a 39-35 lead forcing a Portland timeout in the second quarter.
He then blocked a Damian Lillard take to the basket and hit a jumper on the other end. A tip in on a missed Jameer Nelson shot led to Ayon’s eighth point, to go along with his three rebound and four assists in 14 first half minutes. Ayon struck once more before the first half buzzer on a feed from Jameer Nelson to finish with 10 first-half points.
Ayon finished with a very solid double-double, scoring 16 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out six assists.
Kyle O’Quinn came in at the 4:24 mark of the first quarter with a lot of energy. He brought it aggressively across the paint on Meyers Leonard and drew a foul for a three-point play. O’Quinn played well, but had the worst plus/minus of any Magic player at -13.
E’Twaun Moore hit a nice jumper from a Redick assist to close the quarter for the Magic, who climbed to within four after trailing by as many as 11. Moore also did a nice job on Damian Lillard earl in the fourth quarter while the Weber state product tried to get his game going with LaMarcus Aldridge on the bench.
Bench Grade: A