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10-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 BLK | 10 REB | 20 PTS | -5
On the very first play of the game, Vucevic backed down Miles Plumlee in the post and made a lefty hook with ease. That proved to be a bad omen for Plumlee, who looked overmatched trying to defend Vucevic on the low block throughout the night. It’s a mild surprise that the Magic didn’t try to exploit the mismatch more.
3-12 FG | 0-4 3P | 5 REB | 5 AST | 6 PTS | -8
It’s very much “feast or famine” for Oladipo. After back-to-back solid performances against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, Oladipo struggled mightily on offense against the Suns. He couldn’t convert at the rim, get to the free throw line, or make any 3-pointers. When none of those things are clicking for him, it neuters his effectiveness offensively. As it did versus Phoenix.
5-8 FG | 6-6 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | +1
After shooting 4-for-8 (50.0 percent) behind the 3-point line to start the regular season, Nicholson missed his next 10 attempts. Against the Suns, Nicholson was finally able to connect on a couple of corner 3s and get off the schnide. It’s games like these that show Nicholson can do damage by providing instant scoring off the bench for Orlando.
6-14 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 6 AST | 16 PTS | -8
Getting his third consecutive start at small forward, as head coach Jacque Vaughn has recently elected to use a small-ball lineup to start games, Afflalo was nothing more than average. And he was a victim of an ill-timed palming violation — a point of emphasis from the NBA this season — that occurred late in the fourth quarter that really sapped the team’s comeback hopes.
After jumping out to a double digit lead in the first quarter, the Suns were never severely threatened the rest of the way. Every time the Magic cut the deficit to five or three, Phoenix always had an answer. Case in point: with Orlando mounting a final comeback and trailing 97-92, Goran Dragic responded by going on a personal 7-0 run to close the game out.