Magic Musings: Nikola Vucevic helps Magic head into All-Star break on winning note
ORLANDO, Fla. -- It's hardly the same as a .500 record overall, but the Orlando Magic are going into the All-Star break with a .500 mark under interim head coach James Borrego.
Nikola Vucevic's 28 points and 18 rebounds Wednesday night helped lift the Magic to an 89-83 victory over the New York Knicks, owners of worst record in the NBA at 10-43. The Magic had lost 12 of their previous 13 games but are now 2-2 since Borrego replaced Jacque Vaughn last week.
Despite Tobias Harris missing his second game in a row because of a sore right knee, the Magic shot 46.3 percent from the floor and got 19 points from Victor Oladipo to complement Vucevic.
The only time the Knicks have scored more than 100 points in their past 21 games came in a 113-106 victory over the Magic on Jan. 23. They were without Carmelo Anthony, whose sore left knee could also keep him out of the All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.
After managing only 16 points in the first quarter in their previous two games, the Magic reached that mark in a little more than five minutes. But a 27-24 lead through one quarter became a 47-44 deficit at halftime.
Borrego went with Vucevic and Dewayne Dedmon at the same time for part of the second quarter to counter the Knicks' use of two 7-footers in Smith and Andrea Bargnani. Dedmon recorded consecutive blocks of Smith in the defensive highlight of the half for the Magic.
When Channing Frye dislocated his left index finger a minute into the third quarter, Borrego brought in Kyle O'Quinn to play power forward. Dedmon also filled in for Frye but was taken out after picking up his fifth foul with 8:35 remaining.
Knicks center Jason Smith, whose previous season high of 19 points was set against the Magic, had 21 by halftime but only four points over the final two quarters.
The Magic finished with a 44-39 advantage in rebounds after being hammered 53-33 in that category Monday night at Washington.
The win leaves the Magic with a record of 17-39. They were 16-38 at the All-Star break a year ago.
THE TURNING POINT
Neither team was ahead by more than six points all game until the Magic went on an 8-0 run to take an 83-75 lead.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Vucevic posted his 32nd double-double in 50 games this season.
STAT OF THE GAME
Dedmon's six blocks were a season high for any Magic player.
Feb. 20 vs. New Orleans, 7 p.m.