Victor Oladipo capped his best outing of Orlando pro Summer League play by hitting the go-ahead basket with 4.4 seconds to play, lifting the Magic to a 90-89 win against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday. Oladipo finished with 24 points, three rebounds, six assists, three steals, and five turnovers. Andrew Nicholson added 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting for Orlando.
Oladipo continued to play exclusively at point guard, and his tendencies are the same as they were in previous days of Orlando Pro Summer League play: on drives, he looks to score and draw contact. He's more likely to make a play for a teammate if he does not penetrate at all, but instead hangs around the perimeter as a caretaker. This sort of action led to his throwing an around-the-back bounce pass to Osby for an in-rhythm jumper in the first quarter. He tried the same maneuver again in the fourth, on that occasion hitting Nicholson at the top of the key.
The Magic played more active defensively than they did in Tuesday's blowout loss against the Miami Heat, deflecting or stealing outright several Philly passes. Despite their strength there, the Magic found themselves susceptible once again to backdoor cuts. For a team that communicates loudly on defense, the Magic were not polished in some areas there.
James Southerland, an undrafted rookie from Syracuse, helping bring the Sixers back into the game in the second quarter, scoring eight of Philly's nine points in a 9-0 scoring run. The Magic twice failed to account for the jump-shooting forward in transition, leading to him banging in one three and drawing a foul against a poor Maurice Harkless closeout on another occasion. Southerland converted all three free throws to tie the game at 34.
Via a score or an assist, Oladipo accounted for Orlando's next eight points, including a spinning reverse layup in traffic despite the defense of the lengthy Justin Holiday. Oladipo has a quicker first step than one might expect, to go with excellent body control. One problem for him will be avoiding getting his shot blocked: Philly defenders rejected him three times in the first half.
Andrew Nicholson helped the Magic gain some separation early in the third quarter, scoring six straight points to put Orlando by five with 3:56 to go. The most impressive basket in this sequence was a follow slam of a missed shot by Harkless; Nicholson isn't known for his athleticism or rebounding ability, but he displayed both of those facets on that one surprising play.
Philly ten came back to reclaim the lead with a series of inside scores: a tip-in by Arnett Moultrie, a fast-break dunk by Rodney Williams, a pair of Moultrie free throws after Nicholson fouled him in the paint, and an uncontested dunk by Arsalan Kazemi off a backdoor cut. The Sixers ended the third having knotted the score at 69.
Philadelphia used a 6-0 scoring run to take a three-point lead with 5:19 to go. Osby ended the Magic drought with an aggressive face-up backet, driving to his left from the right baseline and finishing inside.
A driving layup from Harkless tied the score at 82, but Justin Holiday answered with a wide-open corner triple for Philly. On the Magic's next trip, Harkless put his head down and drove again into traffic, drawing a foul and converting both free throws to bring Orlando to within a point.
Holiday converted a pull-up two on the Sixers' next trip. Harkless just barely navigated the baseline without stepping out of bounds before finding Nicholson for a jump hook just outside the restricted area.
Kazemi made two big plays to secure Philadelphia's advantage, scoring on a dunk to put it up three points with 1:19 to play and folowing that play up with strong defense on Nicholson to force the second-year forward to flip the ball off back part of the backboard for a turnover.
Another driving hoop by Harkless, his fourth aggressive take in the final three minutes, cut Philly's advantage to 89-88 with 37.5 seconds to play.
Oladipo kept Michael Carter-Williams well, keeping him in front on the Sixers' penultimate possession. A poor decision by Nicholson to give Oladipo help gave Carter-Williams an open passing lane to Kazemi, but he missed the shot.
Orlando corralled the rebound and Oladipo drilled a step-back two-pointer, with his toe on the line, ti put the Magic up one point with 4.4 seconds to play. Khaliff Wyatt's wide-open jumper at the buzzer bounced out, and Orlando escaped with the win.
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