The Orlando Magic aren’t pretending to be anything but a franchise on the mend after Dwight Howard left town before the 2012-13 season. They’re not surprising everyone like the Suns have this year, and they don’t have an all-star caliber player injured, like Rajon Rondo in Boston. But they do have heart, and their back-to-back victories over the top team in each conference this weekend shows that parity exists despite a rash of teams that are tanking the 2013-14 season.
First up on Orlando’s magical weekend odyssey was Friday night’s mad win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder appeared to have the game locked up with under 10 seconds left. But Kevin Durant missed a pull-up jumper and Victor Oladipo chased down the long rebound to sprint the other way. Tobias Harris ended up getting a rare game-winning dunk to give the Magic a great start to the weekend with a 103-102 come-from-behind win over the top team in the Western Conference:
KD and Serge Ibaka had 29 and 26, respectively, and while no Magic player cracked the 20-point plateau, five players scored in double-figures with another two adding nine points apiece. All told, their comeback from being down 14 at the half set up a crazy ending.
Then Sunday rolled around, and most people thought the visiting Pacers would make short work of a the Magic. Again, Orlando disappointed prognosticators. The Pacers were in control throughout the game though, winning the each of the first three quarters to head into the final period up by 10. But the Magic kept playing hard.
In the fourth, rookie Oladipo went off, scoring 13 of his team-high 23 points in the period. The Magic’s defense forced some turnovers and some Pacers shots didn’t fall. Orlando stormed ahead by seven with half of the period remaining.
But the Pacers didn’t bow down. Paul George obliterated Glen Davis earlier in the game, and he hit a big three-pointer with a little over two minutes remaining to cut the Magic’s lead to two. But Afflalo answered with a layup, and the Magic held on to win despite George getting a chance to steal the game at the end.
All told, one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference went ahead and defeated the two team’s with the best record in each conference during a MAGICical weekend run.
Who says parity doesn’t exist in the NBA?
What do you think?
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