Culture of Hoops

Shorthanded Orlando Magic Hold Off Sacramento Kings, 119-115

Image courtesy of Michael Tipton/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Michael Tipton/Flickr.

The Orlando Magic entered tonight’s matchup against the Sacramento Kings on a four-game losing streak. To add injury to insult, they were going to be severely undermanned with Evan Fournier, Luke Ridnour, Willie Green, Devyn Marble, and Nikola Vucevic all being ruled out for the game. Despite the lack of depth, the Magic would put together a strong performance to pull off a 119-115 win.

Without Vucevic to man the middle, Victor Oladipo would get the Magic off to a sizzling hot start. Scoring 13 points in the opening quarter, Oladipo would guide the Magic to a first-quarter season-high of 35 points on 72.7 percent shooting from the floor. Their highly efficient offensive burst did come with some drawbacks as the Kings would corral seven offensive rebounds thanks in large part to the Magic’s Dewayne Dedmon and Kyle O’Quinn facing early foul trouble. Magic would lead 35-26 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Magic’s bench would give them a huge lift. Led by Andrew Nicholson and Ben Gordon, the bench for the Magic would score 22 points. Channing Frye would also get things going, hitting three three-pointers in the second period. The Kings kept battling as Rudy Gay scored 20 first-half points. Despite his efforts, the Magic would lead 68-57, reaching a personal  season-high in points scored in the first half.

Out of halftime, the Magic would push their lead to as many as 18 before the Kings put together a series of stops to chip away at the deficit. Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins would head the comeback, with Gay scoring 10 points including a three-pointer that cut the Magic lead down to six. The Magic led 92-86 heading into the fourth.

In the fourth, the Kings would continue to ride their momentum, taking their first lead of the game at the midway point of the final quarter. The Magic would stop the bleeding momentarily, retaking the lead with a couple of big baskets by both Oladipo and Frye to gain a four-point edge over the Kings. However, the Kings would not go away as DeMarcus Cousins cut the lead to three with two minutes left in the contest.

After a failed play by the Magic out of timeout, Omri Casspi drew a huge three-point shooting foul on Aaron Gordon, who couldn’t stop his momentum while closing out on Casspi. After making all three free-throws to take a one-point lead, Oladipo would find Tobias Harris alone in the corner for a big three that would put the Magic up by two with 28.9 seconds left. After Frye put the Magic up by four, Rudy Gay would hit an even bigger three-pointer to get within one of the Magic with three seconds left to go. Tobias Harris would seal the win with free-throws.

Rudy Gay led the Kings with a game-high 39 points. Demarcus Cousins had a 29 point, 12 rebound double-double. Ray McCallum would put up 13 and Omri Casspi would finish with 11 on the night.

For the Magic, Victor Oladipo would lead a balanced attack with a 32-point, 11-assist double-double. Channing Frye would also have a double-double of 22 points (season high) and 10 rebounds. Tobias Harris finished with 19 points while Andrew Nicholson continue to play well with a season-high of 14 points off the bench. Ben Gordon would add 12 off the bench as well, and Elfrid Payton would score 10 points and tie his career-high of 12 assists with one turnover, becoming the youngest Magic player to pull off such a feat.

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