Kim Klement/USA TODAY
It is not often you see Nikola Vucevic show much emotion on the basketball floor. Off the court, he is usually a bit quiet and reserved, speaking softly and calmly.
That was not the Nikola Vucevic we saw on the floor Wednesday night for the Magic.
This Nikola Vucevic was ripping down rebounds and putting on physical box outs of DeAndre Jordan, trying and succeeding at keeping the Clippers big men away from the rim. This Nikola Vucevic was posting up and and spinning circles around his defenders, going up and under for scoop shots and stepping back on the pick and roll for 15-foot jumpers. This Nikola Vucevic was demanding coach Jacque Vaughn give him the ball at the end of a close game.
This Nikola Vucevic was a monster, in his coach's own words, finishing the game off with gusto by draining 16-foot jumper with 64 seconds left off of a Jameer Nelson pick and roll and then sealing the game with two rebounds, six free throws and a blocked shot in the final 30 seconds of play. That helped him to 30 points and 21 rebounds, his fifth career 20/20 game and second 30/20 game of his short career.
The Magic may have lost what was once a 19-point lead, but they finished strong for a 98-90 win over the Clippers at Amway Center to climb above .500 for the first time in a year (exactly a year when they were 2-1 following a loss to the Timberwolves).
"I'm just playing with a lot of confidence right now," Vucevic said. "I know my team needs me to be aggressive. The coaching staff keeps telling me to be aggressive on both ends of the court. I'm just trying to deliver for my team so we can get some wins."
The Magic once again won this game with their defense.no comments