Jacque Vaughn said his team needed a taste. it would be good for them. Well, what he actually said was that he knows what an In 'n' Out Burger tastes like. A win would be like the memory of a delicious hamburger, leaving you hankering for more. Wins and losses do not matter in the preseason, but the taste of winning could be vitally important as this team builds confidence in its new schemes.
Vaughn certainly hopes most wins are like the one his team put together Friday night against the Pacers. Orlando locked down defensively and got back in transition to limit Indiana's opportunities for easy baskets. The Magic shared teh ball and worked together to score points, working hard on the glass and drawing fouls. The energy was there and the execution was there (for the most part).
Indiana erased a double-digit lead on an 8-0 run, Orlando responded with a 19-4 spurt that gave the team the lead for good in the second quarter. In the second half, the Magic just blew the game wide open, coming out strong to start the third quarter and pulling away at the end.
The Magic were likely very satisfied with the 112-96 win at Amway Center.
From the get-go, Orlando seemed to be on its offensive game. The good shooting lasted throughout but the Magic got things going early through pick and rolls from J.J. Redick and Glen Davis. Redick had a series of quick scores early on in the game that helped set the tone.
He and Davis did a good job pacing Orlando offensively. Redick scored 12 points, but more importantly contributed eight assists including a nice dish for a Glen Davis dunk. Davis scored 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting, helping get Roy Hibbert in foul trouble with his willingness to take contact.
The Magic's offense was simply working in just about every facet. Orlando hit two early 3-pointers to set a tone and ended up shooting 54.9 percent from the floor. The ball was moving more importantly and the Magic played with energy and got out on the break too.
Orlando had 30 assists on 45 field goal makes. Reddick's eight dishes led the team, but Jameer Nelson added seven assists on his own. E'Twaun Moore also had four dishes along with a surprisingly efficient Hedo Turkoglu (he scored nine poitns on 3-for-4 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds too).
The starters were very dominant tonight despite that perceived height disadvantage with Josh McRobert and Glen Davis starting in the post for this game. Roy Hibbert and David West were able to get to the offensive glass on a few occasions. But the most important thing for Vaughn and this team after the Magic struggled with their transition defense was that nothing seemed to come easy.
With Danny Granger out, Paul George has had the opportunity to step into the "scorer" role. George was 6 for 21 and struggled to keep up with Redick in the early going too. It was not a good game for him.
Indiana struggled overall offensively in shooting 2 for 19 from beyond the arc and 40.4 percent from the floor overall. The only bright spot might have been the continued emergence of Gerald Green from his NBA exile and Tyler Hansbrough's unrelenting effort around the basket.
Orlando got the momentum flowing throughout the second half. The Magic had a bit of a letdown from their bench in the second quarter, but that did not happen in the third or fourth quarter.
DeQuan Jones continued to make his case to make the roster with 10 points, on 4-for-5 shooting, and four blocks. Jones brought a lot of energy to the game, defending really well, making energy plays and scoring efficiently. If he makes this roster, eh could quickly become a fan favorite.
But that is far into the future.
Orlando put in a good effort. Likely its most complete effort and best defensive effort of the preseason. They shared the ball, got out on the break and kept things moving. They prevented fast breaks and made things difficult for Indiana. The Magic did commit 17 turnovers with many coming in the first half. That is certainly something the Magic will want to continue to address.
But after a win like this, you just try to enjoy and savor the taste.