Victor Oladipo rises to occasion in Summer League debut

Victor Oladipo did not want to be the one to take the first shot. That is not who he is. As some joked after the game that he was a superstar he calmly said, "Not yet."

When the game was truly on the line however, it was Oladipo the Magic needed to turn to and make a play. It may just be Summer League, but Oladipo seemed fine with that moment for the time being.

Oladipo indeed took that first shot — a pull-up 3-pointer he drained over Kelly Olynyk — and then he took another one to score six quick points. But it was his passing at the end of the game that proved to be the difference in a 95-88 win for the Magic. 

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In a tight ball game, Oladipo dropped a pass to Kyle O'Quinn underneath the basket who finished and drew the foul to give the Magic a late lead. He then drove into the paint again and whipped the ball out to Doron Lamb in the corner for a 3-pointer that put Orlando up seven. The Magic had all they needed to hang on.

"They trust me with the ball in my hands," Oladipo said. "I'm going to go out there and take care of the ball and make good plays to help my team win."

That trust was well founded Sunday. Oladipo scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds to go with a game-high seven assists. He shot only 5 for 13 from the floor and had six turnovers, so there is still plenty of room for growth. Maurice Harkless scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds and rookie Romero Osby had 18 points off the bench.

A lot of different players contributed and brought energy to the game at different points. This was no cake walk for the Magic despite relying mostly on a nine-man rotation that leaned heavily on those players expected to make the roster.

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The hiccups were the expected ones — 27 free throw attempts for the Celtics and 29 points off 23 turnovers. Coach James Borrego saw some positives in the way his team responded after struggling defensively in the first and third quarters. The Magic allowed 16 in the second and 17 in the fourth to take control over the game.

"The fourth quarter, they responded to the third quarter, I thought," Borrego said. "That's our message to them, we've got to play better defensively. But we responded in the fourth quarter."

Borrego said Oladipo responded well as the Celtics put more pressure on him and forced him to adjust his play. He may not have scored as much, but he found a way to make a difference. That was key for the win.

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And it was key for several other players too. Maurice Harkless was 6 for 13 from the floor too and he had to find a way to stay involved defensively despite his shots not falling. That is always a difficult thing for a young player to do.

This is the atmosphere to do it though.

Orlando was energetic and loud and attacked in transition. While normal summer league struggles with turnovers and fouling occurred, the Magi cgenerally opened up well with some nice plays and confidence as they build chemistry together.

That might be all you can ask for at this point from this roster.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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