The Orlando Magic opened their three-game homestand Saturday by eking out a 100-92 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, ending the Magic's three-game losing streak.
For Orlando, Arron Afflalo, who shot 32.3 percent from the floor over his last six games, went 8-of-15 for a team-best 18 points. Maurice Harkless put together a solid offensive performance, scoring 17 points with three three-pointers. Tobias Harris scored 17 points in 31 minutes off the bench. Kyle O'Quinn filled in admirably for the injured Nik Vučević, tallying an 14-point, 13-rebound double-double.
Even without Kevin Love, Kevin Martin, and Nikola Peković--the team's three leading scorers on the season--available, the Timberwolves proved formidable: Ricky Rubio became more a scorer than a playmaker, notching 18 points in addition to a game-high 10 assists. An assortment of role-playing utility guys stepped up, which should not have been a surprise, given the beauty and simplicity of Rick Adelman's offense. To wit: Corey Brewer scored 15, and Robbie Hummel, the 58th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, logged career-highs in scoring (12) and in minutes (33).
Minnesota built a lead as large as 13 points in the third quarter, but the Magic closed the period on an 11-3 run to narrow the visitors' edge to five. Harris' transition dunk at the 8:37 mark of the fourth gave the Magic a one-point edge, and they'd eventually push it to six on an O'Quinn three-point play with 2:44 to play in regulation. Minnesota appeared to lose its edge as th game wore on, an understandable consequence of playing a double-overtime game Friday and having only 10 players available for Saturday, a number which decreased by one after just 60 seconds against Orlando when Chase Budinger tweaked an ankle.
As such, Rubio had to take the visitors' tough shots down the stretch, a role for which his skills are not suited.
Brewer had a chance to trim the Magic's lead to four with less than two minutes to play, but his floating shot missed the mark. Minnesota center Gorgui Dieng tried to save the ball along the baseline, but Nelson intercepted the pass. Nelson turned the ball over himself seconds later, but Minnesota once again failed to convert, and Afflalo iced the game with a floater in delayed transition.