In a season bereft of much motivation to win except pride and youth development, this is the game and this is the moment the Magic likely want their young players to see and feel.
It was not so long ago that Kevin Durant was going through these growing pains -- and Orlando certainly does not have a Kevin Durant on the roster right now -- and suffering losses to teams that were already title contenders while his team was making the long climb up.
The Magic are making the long climb up and got another positive sign that the future is bright with the way Maurice Harkless took over the game.
Even with Harkless spinning his way around Kevin Durant and dicing the Thunder defense for long stretches of the game, there is still a lot to learn. Orlando and Oklahoma City were tied at 86 when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook took over the game offensively and closed the game on an 11-3 run to end the game.
Serge Ibaka started blocking shots and repealing the Magic from the rim. There was, of course, no chance the Magic were going to get to the foul line -- and Harkless and Harris are still learning how to draw fouls against a skilled shot blocker like Ibaka.
Execution mattered and the Thunder, the more experienced and more talented side, won out in the end with a 97-89 win at Amway Center on Friday. Durant scored 25 points and Russell Westbrook scored 19 points. Serge Ibaka had 13 rebounds and five blocks and made himself known defensively, particularly at the end of the game.
This game though largely belonged to rookie Maurice Harkless.no comments