Five takeaways from the Magic’s preseason opener against New Orleans:
- The Magic lost to the Pelicans 99-95 and lost a chance to steal the game when refs blew a call at the end. With Orlando trailing 97-93, Tobias Harris hit a 3-point shot with 13 seconds left, but officials ruled it a 2, according to their television replay angles. But a replay on the overhead screen showed space between Harris’ foot and the 3-point line. It was not known if the replays to the refs were limited. It was a typical preseason game between two young teams -- lots of mistakes (18 turnovers for Magic and 16 for the Pelicans) and spotty defense. Center Nik Vucevic picked up where he left off after a breakout 2012, scoring 17 points and grabbing nine boards in about 28 minutes. Two other veteran starters – point guard Jameer Nelson and shooting guard Arron Afflalo – struggled with their shooting. Orlando’s bench played well for stretches. The Magic have focused on protecting their rim in camp, but second-year forward Anthony Davis (29 points) had several uncontested dunks and was fouled enough to attempt and make all 11 of his free throws.
- Even though it was an exhibition game, the moment wasn’t too big for debuting rookie PG/SG Victor Oladipo (10 points, nine assists, five rebounds). He was all over the place and showed the experiment at point guard has promise. In the first half, he had six points (2-of-5 shooting), five assists (including a nifty no-look), got to the line (four attempts), no turnovers and four steals. He’ll easily lead this team in steals. “He’s going to be all right,” dead-panned coach Jacque Vaughn.
- Vaughn surprisingly started Kyle O’Quinn (4 points) at power forward – a spot Tobias Harris (17 points) admirably filled at the end of last season. Apparently, Vaughn wanted to see a bigger lineup for his undersized team, but Harris is clearly the more productive player. Preseason games are the time to experiment, however, so we shouldn’t read too much into O’Quinn starting. He’s another in the long line of young guys that the Magic are developing, and they stay true to the concept.
- Second-year forward Andrew Nicholson (13 points) looked solid offensively, hitting 5 of his first 6 shots. He has been working on his 3-point shot and hit his only attempt. Not a gifted athlete, ‘Drew made a nice move to the hoop for his fifth bucket. He’s turning into a valuable bench guy for the Magic.
- Veteran Jason Maxiell will be a good fit while Glen Davis recovers from his foot injury. Max played almost 21 minutes and corralled a game-high 10 rebounds.