Ronnie Price was leaving the locker room and told rookie Victor Oladipo just to wait for the regular season. There the intensity and the play will ratchet up a bit. The minutes will increase and the games will actually count for something.
Oladipo smiled and started belting out "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters.
That might be the feeling for many in locker rooms around the NBA as the regular season gets set to start Tuesday — for the Magic in Indianapolis.
Almost immediately after the Magic's 101-82 loss to the Pelicans at Amway Center on Friday, the focus began to turn toward who will still be with the roster when the team heads to Indiana and whether the Magic were ready for the beginning of the 2013-14 season.
"Whether it is in practice or in games, coach has been just switching up lineups to see what he likes for opening night," Maurice Harkless said. "I pretty much have a feel for playing with everyone now. I think he did a good job playing everyone together a good amount of minutes."
That might have been the most important thing coming out of this preseason. That, health and who would make the final roster.
One of those questions was answered shortly after the game with the Magic releasing second round pick Romero Osby and training camp invitees, Mickell Gladness, Kris Joseph and Manny Harris. Invitee Solomon Jones made the team's final regular season roster.
The Magic were without Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb with ankle injuries suffered during the past month. Jameer Nelson and Jason Maxiell got the night off to keep their minutes down before the regular season. No one in Orlando's starting lineup for the evening played in the second half.
It was the final preseason game and the Magic got out unscathed.
Orlando got all the work it needed to from its rotation players in the first half. The team started off a bit slow from the field, hoisting 11 3-pointers in the first half and making just two of them. The team's real strength came from moving without the ball and attacking the paint. Victor Oladipo struggled making 2 of his 9 shots, but made all six of his free throws for 10 points.
The Magic were most successful in the second quarter — which they won 24-14 to go into the halftime locker room tied at 45 — because they were able to collect offensive rebounds and get second chance points and points in the paint. Orlando had 20 points in the paint in the first half to New Orleans' eight and 11 second-chance points to New Orleans' two.
Nikola Vucevic had an efficient 10 points and seven rebounds on 5-for-7 shooting for the game. His only blemish was four turnovers, including a couple traveling calls.
If it is any sign of the learning process for the Magic, they continued to show they can make adjustments in between quarters to close down early deficits.
"Well, the game is about making adjustments," Jacque Vaughn said. "Could be play to play, personnel adjustments throughout the course of the game. I give our guys credit they've been very focused, and in tune when we do make adjustments. Some of it in preseason is trying to let them fill it out. And sometimes I won't make adjustments, so hopefully they'll make their own adjustments and be instictive as basketball players. Sometimes that's kind of the field we like to live in a little bit."
The other story, of course, was who would make the roster in one of the final spots the Magic have open. That was announced shortly after the game as the team waived second round pick Romero Osby and training camp invitees Mickell Gladness, Manny Harris and Kris Joseph.
The training camp invitees got plenty of action in the second half to show what they can do and try to persuade the Magic or other teams they deserve a roster spot. The Magic were largely not persuaded as they made their decisions about an hour after the game ended.
The second half though was an offensive nightmare.
Orlando shot 28.2 percent from the floor and had six assists on 11 field goal makes. New Orleans made 54.3 percent of their shots and 6 of 7 3-pointers. The result was as much as a 26-point Pelicans lead. Not that the Magic really cared about the final result with the Pelicans playing their regulars and several rotation players throughout the second half. Brian Roberts scored 16 of his
Vaughn said he liked the energy the group brought, and it is hard to argue with the energy they brought. They continued to go hard after the offensive glass — 11 offensive rebounds but only nine second chance points — and used the full court press to keep pressure on the Pelicans' defense.
Manny Harris scored 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting, but noted he did not have a good game. His goal was to try to play looser and have fun to try to make the roster. Romero Osby added seven points and seven rebounds in his final effort in a Magic jersey. Their efforts obviously fell a bit short.
"I think I did a lot better. I don't call it a good game, because I feel like I could have done a lot better," Harris said. "A lot of contestant shots I probably shot too fast. I just tried to ge tout there and have a little fun because it is the last game of the preseason and you never know what can happen. I just tried to have a little fun before whatever the decision is."
Harris said he was in a position where he needed to work hard to make his impact and that is what he is going to have to continue to do to put himself in a better position if and when he gets that opportunity again.
The same goes for the other guys cut after Friday's game.
There is certainly disappointment for those guys. It is also a sign that training camp is over. The games will start counting for real soon.
I think I'm about to lose control, and I think I like it.