Saturday’s home game against the Celtics, was a game that the Magic barely won, with the final score being 105–103.
Following the end of the game, head coach Steve Clifford spoke with the press on how the team was able to win at home against Boston.
Clifford touched on how players that normally aren’t in the rotation have stepped up and helped contributed in ways that one wouldn’t notice when looking at the final box score. In addition, Clifford talked about how, even if the team is ahead by how many points - unless the Magic can maintain that lead - the opposing team will find a way to surpass that.
Clifford even expanded on how, regardless of whom the Magic beat during the season, if the players are not committed and plays are set up to where the players can successfully execute them, then there will be games the Magic will lose to teams they should’ve beaten.
“…But that’s been my message to them. That’s what I believe,” said Clifford. “You have to have a way that you play that will win in the NBA and takes maximum advantage of the strengths of your players. When we do that, we’re good.”
That mindset carried through to the following game. On Sunday against the Houston Rockets, Orlando won by a final score of 116–109.
During the postgame press conference, Clifford spoke about how the Magic’s performance this game was very consistent, as well as aggressive.
“A bunch of guys played really well. Aaron Gordon made a bunch of big plays, Vooch had some big baskets there; but obviously, I thought Evan [Fournier] and Wes [Iwundu], both on Harden did a phenomenal job,” said Clifford. “[Harden] had 38, and that’s one point under what he’s been averaging these last stretch of games. But it’s a really good win, though.”
There are two interesting things to take note of after the last two games. The leading scorer for the Magic was Aaron Gordon, scoring 28 points against the Celtics and 22 points against the Rockets. Nikola Vucevic lead the team in assists with five against Boston and six against Houston.
In addition, Vucevic made the most rebounds with 13 against Boston and nine against Houston.
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