AP Photo/Jason DeCrow
16-22 FG | 2-2 FT | 18 REB | 3 AST | 34 PTS | -1
Want to know why Vucevic won’t be an All-Star? Because the Magic lose these type of games. It’s a shame because Vucevic is deserving of the honor (he had a field day against the Knicks’ no-name frontline and tied his career-high with 34 points), but he won’t be selected as a reserve because coaches rarely pick players from losing teams.
6-20 FG | 3-5 FT | 2 STL | 3 REB | 15 PTS | +3
Langston Galloway, a player on a 10-day contract with a name straight out of a Sherlock Holmes book, outplayed Oladipo. That says all you need to know about how the night went for Orlando. Galloway scored seven of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and was a big reason why New York picked up a rare win. Oladipo, meanwhile, was a non-factor.
5-10 FG | 4-9 3P | 6 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | -3
Facing off against the team that originally drafted him, Frye looks nothing like the player he was with the Knicks. In New York, he was mostly a midrange shooter. Now you’ll be lucky to see Frye step his foot inside the 3-point line offensively. Although Frye did shoot the 3-ball well, he gave up all those points and more with his turnstile defense.
3-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 STL | 11 AST | 9 PTS | +5
The Magic had a bit of a scare late in the fourth quarter when Payton made a layup off the dribble and landed awkwardly on his left ankle, which forced him to sit out the rest of the game. It originally looked like he sprained it, but afterwards, the Magic’s doctor diagnosed Payton with a sore left knee. Nothing more.
|New York Knicks
Galloway (15 points, 8 rebounds) and Lance Thomas (16 points on 8-for-10 shooting), two players on 10-day contracts, had a stretch in crunch time when they scored 14 of the Knick’s 16 points to help the team surge ahead of the Magic. It wasn’t Carmelo Anthony that closed things out for New York. It was Galloway and Thomas. Those are real sentences that were written.
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo have committed to participating in the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk contest, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee and Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Zach LaVine also will be a part of the competition, sources told Yahoo Sports.
The dunk contest is set as the final event of All-Star Saturday night on Feb. 14 at the Barclays Center in New York.
The All-Star game is Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden.
Matt Moore, CBS Sports: No. 20 (Last week: No. 27)
Ran into a buzzsaw in Oklahoma City, but overall have played much better. Victor Oladipo is a star in the making that no one is really paying attention to.
Marc Stein, ESPN: No. 21 (Last week: No. 28)
Before getting bullied by Memphis and obliterated by OKC, Orlando not only posted two very good wins back-to-back but took their cue from a surging Victor Oladipo to score 120-plus points in consecutive games — those wins in Chicago and over visiting Houston — for the first time since February 1996.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: No. 23 (Last week: No. 27)
The Magic kept their playoff hopes somewhat alive by getting two impressive wins early last week, getting highlight dunks from Nikola Vucevic and Victor Oladipo along the way. The weekend didn’t go so well, but their offense has been respectable with Oladipo and Elfrid Payton on the floor since they started playing more minutes together.
Drew Garrison, SB Nation: No. 26 (Last week: No. 27)
The Magic went 2-2, but this was still one of their better weeks in recent memory because of two nice wins over the Bulls and Rockets. Aaron Gordon is also back in their lineup, scoring eight points and grabbing three rebounds in 11 minutes on Sunday.
Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated: No. 23 (Last week: No. 27)
With Orlando’s rebuild plan somewhat stuck in limbo, the Magic are desperately looking for someone to take the lead. Victor Oladipo might be the man. The second-year guard topped 30 points in back-to-back games last week and is averaging 21.5 this month.
Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports: No. 28 (Last week: No. 28)
Rookie Aaron Gordon is returning from foot surgery just in time to make a late push to get selected for the Rising Stars Challenge.
AP Photo/John Raoux
8-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | -1
If there’s a player that Vucevic should strive to be, it’s Marc Gasol. They both have similar offensive games, but that’s where the comparison ends because Gasol is a vastly superior defender to Vucevic. Although Vucevic is playing at an All-Star caliber level this season (as is Gasol), he still has a ways to go to be a complete two-way player.
9-16 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 12 AST | 22 PTS | -3
Against the Grizzlies, one of the elite teams in the Western Conference, Payton set career-highs in points and assists. Even though Payton’s ability to score with his jump shot is limited for now, he’s been able to circumvent that by attacking the rim. He did so against Memphis, using his 6-foot-4 frame to his advantage against Beno Udrih and Nick Calathes.
5-12 FG | 4-9 3P | 8 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | -4
Frye got off to a quick start, scoring eight points in the first quarter, before slowing down the remainder of the game. He was two points shy of matching his season-high. As long as the Magic continue to play with pace, Frye should continue to churn out these kind of performances. The up-tempo style suits him the best.
7-17 FG | 2-6 3P | 4 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | -3
Unfortunately for Oladipo, he got posterized by Jeff Green, who threw down a vicious one-handed dunk midway through the third quarter. The Grizzlies ran a simple backdoor play for Green, who threw an entry pass to Zach Randolph on the right wing, cut to the basket, got the ball back, and dunked on Oladipo, who came over from the weak-side to try and draw a charge. And-one.
This was a classic grit ‘n grind performance from Memphis, even without Mike Conley (sprained right ankle). The Grizzlies slowed down the pace — especially in the second and third quarters when they paraded to the free-throw line — and got key contributions from Gasol (12 points, 18 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks) and newcomer Green off the bench (21 points, 5 rebounds).
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
Orlando Magic rookie forward Aaron Gordon has been cleared to play in games and appears on track to play tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies at Amway Center.
If Gordon returns tonight, it would be exactly two months since the team announced Gordon had suffered a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Gordon underwent surgery on Nov. 21 to have a screw placed into the bone.
“I’m back, so that’s a good thing,” Gordon said at the Magic’s shootaround this morning. “It’s still up to the organization on how they want to go from here, but my foot feels great. I’m just happy to be playing basketball again.”
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said that Gordon has been cleared fully to play in games, but Vaughn added he hadn’t decided which players will be on the team’s 13-man active list for against the Grizzlies. If Gordon is activated, someone will have to be deactivated.