I guess Victor Oladipo felt like he needed to step his slam game up after John Wall jacked his 360 steez on Tuesday. That's good news for us, but bad news for the Atlanta Hawks' frontcourt tandem of Al Horford and Paul Millsap:
Get up, gentlemen. (And your move, Mr. Wall. The Milwaukee Bucks' bigs await.)
The No. 2 overall pick bounced back from perhaps his worst game as a pro (missing nine of his first 10 shots to finish with six points on 3 for 12 shooting, an oh-fer from 3-point range and the foul line, mitigating his five assists with four turnovers, getting torched by the Goran Dragic-Gerald Green backcourt in a home loss to the Phoenix Suns) with perhaps his best game as a pro.
The Indiana product scored 18 points on 7 for 11 shooting, adding five assists, three rebounds and turning the ball over just once in 30 minutes to help push the Magic to an impressive 109-92 road win — Orlando's first road win in its last 18 games away from the Amway Center — over the Hawks, one of just three Eastern Conference teams to have won more games than they've lost this season.
Jacque Vaughn's squad already held a double-digit lead heading into the final frame, thanks to big third-quarters from stellar swingman Arron Afflalo (10 of his game-high 26 points in the third), Jameer Nelson (seven points and eight assists without a turnover in the quarter) and reserve E'Twaun Moore (nine of his 12 points). But they closed the Hawks out strong thanks in part to Oladipo, who's continuing to get fourth-quarter minutes and made the most of them on Tuesday, hitting four of his five shots for 10 points in 8 1/2 minutes.
That late explosion came after the rookie had to deal with foul trouble, picking up his fourth personal before halftime and opening the door for Moore, who provided strong play as the Magic held the Hawks to 32.4 percent shooting in the second half and ripped off a 30-8 run between the 5:10 mark of the third quarter and the 7:10 mark of the fourth to seal the deal.
"We came into halftime in decent shape, but we made some shots in the second half which helped us," Vaughn said after the game, according to the Associated Press. "Defensively, we were really aggressive to the basketball. We were locating shooters and we were in the right place. It was fun to see."
That Oladipo finish, especially.
- - - - - - -