The last two wins are the ones that really stand out. The Thunder are at the top of the West and the Pacers are the top of the East. Most thought that the Magic would not win against these elite teams and its understandable. Both teams have All-Stars and years of experience that the Magic lack. In both games, the Thunder and the Pacers led by as many as 17 points but in the fourth quarter the Magic’s second unit stepped up and successfully closed out the games.
The young bunch that makes up the second unit have been nicknamed the “Young Guns.” This group is made by rookie Victor Oladipo, Maurice Harkless, Kyle O’Quinn, E’Twaun Moore and Tobias Harris. Oladipo did a great job in the second half against the Pacers as he scored 13 of his 23 points in the final quarter. He came out and played with a lot of energy and confidence, which gave the rest of the team momentum. The older guys on the Magic’s roster like Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis attribute the second unit success to staying focused and their improved confidence.
“We messed around too much, didn’t close the game out and we let them hang around. This is on us,” Roy Hibbert said after the game. He finished the game with six points, seven rebounds, three assists and three turnovers.
The Magic were locked in defensively throughout the game and it paid off. When they played the Pacers in Indiana earlier in the month, the Pacers not only outscored them 98-79 but also out rebounded them 52-38. This time around it was different, the Magic not only walked away with the win but they also out rebounded the Pacers 48-41.
Thirteen of those 41 rebounds came from the Magic’s double-double machine Nikola Vucevic. The Montenegrin native also tallied 19 points and recorded the team’s only block of the night. Teammate Glen Davis finished the night with nine points and five rebounds.
The guys on the Magic roster are hoping they can translate their home success on the road. They are 3-23 on the road this season and will like to see if they can change that when the head back on the road after the All-Star break.
Up next, the Magic will host the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Inside the Magic locker room: