NBA News Wire
Oladipo shines as Magic top Timberwolves
ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Magic rookie Victor Oladipo has learned a lot in his first NBA season, but nothing more important than what he showed in Saturday night’s 100-92 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It’s all about timing. It’s not how many points you score, but when you score them that counts the most.
Oladipo saved his best for last Saturday night when he scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, sparking the Magic to a come-from-behind victory.
The Magic outscored the Timberwolves 28-15 in a final quarter that included five lead changes, but none after Oladipo hit the biggest shot of the game — a 3-pointer with 4:03 remaining for the 91-89 advantage the Magic never lost.
“I’ve learned how to pick my spots, when to be most aggressive,” Oladipo said. “It’s something I’ve worked on this season, and I think I’m getting better at it now. You play with confidence in the fourth quarter. That’s when you have to come alive.”
The Magic (22-55) snapped a three-game losing streak. The Wolves (38-38) had their two-game winning streak end.
Magic guard Arron Afflalo had 18 points and forwards Maurice Harkless and Tobias Harris each had 17 points. Forward Kyle O’Quinn had 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Guard Jameer Nelson had a game-high 12 assists but just two points. Afflalo and Harkless, both starters, combined for just two points in the fourth quarter when the rookie reserve was leading the team.
Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio led the Timberwolves with 18 points and 10 assists, doing most of his damage in the second and third periods. He had only two points in the fourth.
The Timberwolves, who beat the Miami Heat in double overtime Friday night, were without their three leading scorers (Kevin Love, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic), but they compensated well for the first three periods.
“I think we got tired. We just didn’t do enough in the fourth quarter,” Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. “We were playing combinations we hadn’t played before. When you get into the fourth quarter, those things really start affecting you at that point.”
Minnesota forward Corey Brewer added 15 points. Center Gorgui Dieng had 12 points and eight rebounds. Forward Dante Cunningham and reserve guard Robbie Hummel each had 12 points.
“We beat the champs (Miami) last night, and come here and get beat by the Magic,” Brewer said. “It’s a tough loss for us. We should have come out and gotten a win tonight, but we didn’t. That’s the NBA.”
The Magic shot well throughout the game, hitting 43 of 79 from the field (54.4 percent), and outrebounded the Wolves 40-30. They overcame 23 turnovers. The Wolves also hit 19 of 28 free throws. The Magic made only five of nine.
“Once we cleaned up the turnovers and stopped fouling, things went in our favor,” said O’Quinn. “Once we were playing together, and playing the right way, we got the results we wanted.”
Rubio had eight points in the third quarter, helping the Timberwolves build a 13-point lead. They led 77-72 going into the fourth. The Magic surged early in the fourth quarter, taking an 80-79 lead — their first lead since early in the game — on a short jumper by Harris.
Minnesota led 48-46 at intermission, erasing the Magic’s earlier nine-point advantage. After a slow start, the Timberwolves got aggressive defensively, forcing the Magic into 12 first-half turnovers. Brewer had four steals before halftime.
Afflalo led everyone with 12 points in the first half, including 10 in the first eight minutes. Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger, who got a rare start, limped off the court with a leg injury in the first minute and never returned.
Rubio led the Minnesota charge with eight points in a four-minute span during the second quarter, after missing all four of his shots and going scoreless in the first period.
NOTES: Minnesota F Kevin Love missed the game because of back spasms. He played 44 minutes Friday night in the double-overtime victory in Miami when he had 28 points and 11 rebounds. He had 31 points and 17 rebounds in Minnesota’s earlier season victory over the Magic. … The Timberwolves also were without veteran G Kevin Martin (sore left foot), who missed his second consecutive game, and veteran C Nikola Pekovic (sore right ankle), who missed his third consecutive game. … The Timberwolves were eliminated from Western Conference playoff contention Friday, but they still have a good chance of finishing with their first winning season since 2004-05. … The Magic were without C Nikola Vucevic (sore left Achilles tendon) for the second consecutive game. Rookie C Dewayne Dedmon, who joined the Magic originally on a 10-day contract in February, made his first NBA start Saturday. … Magic G Arron Afflalo, the team’s leading scorer this season, had 10 points in the first eight minutes Saturday, breaking out of his recent slump when he averaged just 7.6 points in the previous three games, making just nine of 29 shots.
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