The thrilling conclusion to the Orlando Magic's 103-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night will be remembered as the most exciting single play of the Magic's last year and a half.
The play culminated with Tobias Harris' buzzer-beating dunk with one-tenth of a second left, but some of Harris' teammates delivered a few less obvious contributions that made the entire sequence possible.
Let's start with the preceding Thunder offensive possession.
Kevin Durant received a screen from teammate Thabo Sefolosha that temporarily took Maurice Harkless, who was guarding Durant, out of the play. Durant dribbled to his right, but center Nik Vucevic stepped into Durant's path near the edge of the lane.
Durant elevated for a 19-foot jumper with 7.2 seconds left on the game clock and 2.7 seconds remaining on the shot clock. If Vucevic hadn't stepped up and squared his shoulders properly to block Durant's path, then Durant might have made the shot.
Plus, Vucevic prompted Durant to take the shot perhaps a little earlier than Durant wanted. As it turned out, the Magic desperately needed every last tenth of a second.
"He was in just about perfect position on that play," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said of Vucevic. "When we talked about Nik being out and we talked about rebounds and him being a big, what I've said time and time again is his pick-and-roll defense from a big guy is really good. For him to be able to contest Durant's shot, to be able to have the ability to be up in pick-and-roll coverage that way, is pretty impressive for him."
After Durant missed, rookie guard Victor Oladipo tracked down the loose ball, which had careened off the back of the rim and toward the 3-point arc. The Thunder's Reggie Jackson was outside Oladipo's right shoulder, but Oladipo held off Jackson. Meanwhile, Sefolosha ran directly toward Oladipo.
Oladipo used his left hand — his non-shooting hard — to gather the ball.
At that moment, Oladipo resembled a right-handed baseball player who was using his mitt to catch a ball on the right side of his body.
"Kind of like Spider-Man a little bit," Oladipo joked.
Then, being a bit more serious, Oladipo said, "I don't know why I did it like that. I just felt like that was the quickest way I could get to the ball, and, fortunately, it worked out."
Harris made a significant effort on the play also.
When Durant released the ball, Harris was boxing out Serge Ibaka inside the restricted area. But Harris started a 92-foot sprint once Oladipo gathered the basketball and initiated the fastbreak.
"First off, he's much faster than you guys think he is," Oladipo said of Harris.
Harris said: "Really, the mindset was from seeing Victor get the [rebound] was just to get down to see whatever happened — maybe a tip-in — just to be down there. I pride myself on working hard and trying to outwork people."
Harris and Oladipo were inundated with text messages after the play and after ESPN's "SportsCenter" opened its show with the play.
Oladipo said he received 45 to 50 text messages.
But that never would've happened if several things — Vucevic's defense, Oladipo's "Spider-Man" move and Harris' 92-foot sprint — hadn't gone perfectly.
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