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3-7 FG | 1-3 FT | 1 BLK | 7 REB | 6 PTS | -10
Matched up against the Rockets’ all-world center, Vucevic more than held his own. All thanks to his defense, surprisingly enough. On the very first possession of the game, Vucevic blocked a Dwight Howard righty hook and didn’t relent defensively the rest of the night when both big men were on the floor together. Vucevic disrupted Howard’s rhythm, which translated into a rather pedestrian outing for Superman.
3-12 FG | 0-3 3P | 3 REB | 3 AST | 9 PTS | -6
It was not the best night for Oladipo. He looked out of sorts all game long — he was over-dribbling and his jumpers were falling short. But he did have some good moments. Like when he went right at Howard and converted an acrobatic layup late in the first quarter. Or when he busted out a Eurostep and finished with his left hand in transition early in the second.
8-17 FG | 1-5 3P | 4 REB | 0 AST | 17 PTS | +6
If you managed to watch more than a handful of Magic games last season, then you know that Moore loves to shoot his patented floater. It’s his primary weapon of choice when attacking the rim off the dribble. And boy was his floater in midseason form against Houston. By my unofficial count, he made five of them, including four in the fourth quarter. Tony Parker would be proud.
6-13 FG | 1-3 3P | 2 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -4
This matchup showcased the difference between a good shooting guard and a great one. Afflalo had 13 points on 13 shots, while Harden had 21 points on 12 shots, and shot selection was the reason for the disparity. While Afflalo was scoring mostly from midrange, Harden manufactured all of his points via layups, free-throws, and 3-pointers.
Despite trailing most of the night, the Magic had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds but blew the opportunity. Trailing 106-103 with 4.6 seconds remaining, Orlando botched things when Manny Harris inbounded the ball to Solomon Jones — a non-threat at the 3-point line. That allowed Donatas Motiejunas the chance to foul Jones, sending him to the line and effectively ending the game.