Down by six points at the end of the first half on Friday, the Orlando Magic, now 5-7, never conceded in their 108-104 grind-out victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers. One of the biggest adjustments was cutting down their turnovers, from 16 in the first half to just two in the second. During the first half, the Magic outshot the Cavs, 47.2 percent to 44.4 percent, but the Cavaliers led due to their 21 points off Orlando's turnovers and 13 second-chance points.
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn shared a few words about how simple it was and should be for the Magic to take care of the ball and execute plays in the second half:
"It's that simple of first recognizing that we're putting ourselves in a hole because of the turnovers." Vaughn said. "That we can execute and get shots, quality shots like we did in the first half, but you're digging yourself a hole with those turnovers. So, it's just recognition and then just making the simple and easy play. That's it."
Shooting guard Arron Afflalo echoed Vaughn's earlier statement about the Magic's slow start:
"A big part of it was how you start the game off so I take a lot of responsibility for coming out with a few careless turnovers." Afflalo said. "Those type of things are just as contagious. So when we came in at the half, we saw that [the Cavs'] offensive rebounding and turnovers equated to almost 66% of their points. We felt that if we take care of our turnovers and do our best to keep them off the offensive glass, we will have a better [second] half."
Ultimately, it was J.J. Redick who prevented the Magic from facing overtime or defeat. Redick sealed the win by shooting 8-of-8 from the foul line in the final minute.
"It's a luxury [to have Redick]." Vaughn said. "I've said it before that when he shoots the basketball, when he has it in his hands, I think good things are going to happen. And I felt he was going to make every free throw and inbounders did a great job of executing and getting the ball to him, our screeners got him open and he made the free throws."
Orlando had to grind its way back into the game with hustle and hard work. During the Magic's rally, forward Glen Davis dove into the stands to save the Magic's possession after point guard Jameer Nelson missed a jumper.
See the hustle play here:
Coach Vaughn expressed his concerns during the post game presser about Davis soaring into the crowd last night.
"I was worried." Vaughn said. "That was a few rows into the crowd and you don't know he's at the mercy of seats and elbows and someone could be playing with their keys and he stabs his arm into someone's car keys, you never know what's going to happen, how life is at that critical moment. But I love the hustle, so if he wants to do it again, he can do it again as long as he comes up pain-free and hurt free, I'll take it."
Fortunately for Orlando, Davis didn't appear to sustain injuries after the incident. He stressed the importance of beating the Cavs trumped any concern he had about injuring himself.
"It's important especially because it's a five-game homestretch." Davis said. "We need to get as much games as possible and try to get back to .500 and compete for the chance to be somewhere in the post-season and also for our confidence and our young guys to make sure that they learn and understand what we have to do to take the win."