Magic Musings: Big night by Nikola Vucevic sparks comeback
ORLANDO, Fla. — With the help of a 20-20 game from Nikola Vucevic, the Orlando Magic overcame a rough start against the Charlotte Bobcats for only their second overtime victory of the season.
Vucevic’s 24 points and 23 rebounds, along with two key baskets by Jameer Nelson in his return from a four-game absence, lifted the Magic to a 110-105 win.
Down by 16 points in the first quarter and trailing 50-41 at halftime, the Magic never led until Vucevic hit a jump shot from the top of the key more than halfway through the fourth quarter. They were behind 97-94 until Arron Afflalo, with the help of a screen by Vucevic, tied the score on a 3-pointer with 7.4 seconds remaining in regulation.
Kemba Walker missed what would have been a game-winning jumper over Victor Oladipo at the buzzer.
Largely because of Vucevic, the Magic finished with a 57-36 advantage in rebounds. Al Jefferson, who had 30 points and 16 rebounds when the Bobcats won in Orlando in January, was held to 21 points and eight rebounds.
Onetime Magic forward Josh McRoberts hit his first four 3-pointers for the Bobcats and finished with a career-high 24 points, although only two came after the third quarter. Walker also had 24 points for the Bobcats, who lost for the second time in three meetings with the Magic.
Nelson, who had been out because of a sore left knee, had only six points in regulation but five in the extra five-minute period. The Magic had been only 1-5 in overtime games.
The win was the Magic’s 21st of the season, topping their total from a year ago.
THE TURNING POINT
Nelson’s 3-pointer put the Magic ahead to stay with 2:26 to go in overtime. His driving layup in the final minute increased their lead to 107-103.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Vucevic recorded his sixth game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds since joining the Magic before last season.
STAT OF THE GAME
Vucevic had 16 rebounds by halftime. The franchise record for rebounds in a half is 20, set by Shaquille O’Neal in 1993.
Sunday night vs. Toronto, 6 p.m. (FOX Sports Florida).