NEW YORK — Orlando Magic officials knew Victor Oladipo would experience growing pains after they decided to play him at point guard this season for the first time in his basketball career.
But Oladipo has surpassed expectations on the first three games of the Magic's current road trip.
Oladipo was one of the few bright spots as the Magic lost to the New York Knicks 121-83 on Friday night. In almost 40 minutes, he committed just three turnovers as he scored 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out three assists.
In the first three games of the Magic's current road trip, Oladipo averaged just 2.8 turnovers per 48 minutes even though he was the team's primary ball-handler while Jameer Nelson was out with an injury in the first two games.
In the 16 games before this road trip, Oladipo averaged 6.7 turnovers per 48 minutes.
"He's starting to read situations, which is good for him," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "The more situations he can be put in, the better off he will be. We still want him to be aggressive, though, in his attack and in his approach. So finding that balance will continue to be a challenge for him."
Oladipo faced his latest test Friday night when the Magic played against the New York Knicks.
Friday's game was Oladipo's first at Madison Square Garden.
"There's a lot of history that's gone through this gym, so I'm looking forward to it," he said about an hour before tipoff. "It's going to be a good time."
Nelson returned to the Magic lineup after he missed three games because of a sprained left foot. But center Nik Vucevic sat out his second consecutive game because of lingering pain in his sprained left ankle.
With Vucevic out, Vaughn employed a starting lineup of Nelson, Oladipo, Arron Afflalo, Andrew Nicholson and Glen Davis.
Oladipo can really sing.
On Thursday, the Magic rookie sang a duet with Regis Philbin of "Ain't No Sunshine" during a live broadcast of the Fox Sports 1 show "Crowd Goes Wild."
Oladipo's rendition was superb.
"It was pretty cool to be with Regis," Oladipo said Friday. "Growing up, I watched him."
Oladipo has some formal experience singing. His mom made him sing in the church choir when he was younger.
His appearance on "Crowd Goes Wild" wasn't the first time he's made headlines with his singing voice.
Oladipo once gave a rousing rendition of Usher's "U Got It Bad" at Indiana University's Hoosier Hysteria, and in a way his singing played a role in the Magic's decision to select him.
At the 2013 NBA Draft Combine in May, Oladipo interviewed for the first time with Magic general manager Rob Hennigan, assistant general managers Scott Perry and Matt Lloyd and Vaughn.
Hennigan asked to hear Oladipo's singing voice, partly to gauge Oladipo's confidence and partly to break the ice.
Oladipo sang — and sang well — and his confidence and charisma impressed the Magic officials.
• A moment of silence honoring Nelson Mandela was held before the national anthem.
• Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer attended the game.
• David Gregory, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," also was in the crowd. So was Spike Lee.
• Magic guard E'Twaun Moore was honored by his alma mater, Purdue University, on Wednesday. Moore attended the Boilermakers' win over Boston College in West Lafayette, Ind. After the halftime ceremony, Moore spent some time in Purdue's "Paint Crew" student section. "It was fun," Moore said. "They showed me a lot of love."
• Maurice Harkless visited St. John's, his alma mater, on Thursday.
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