By Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel
7:39 PM EST, January 9, 2014
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Call it "The Block."
On Wednesday night, Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo threw an errant pass that was intercepted by Nicolas Batum midway through the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Batum and Damian Lillard started a two-on-one fastbreak with only Oladipo between them and the basket. Batum had the ball at the 3-point line, and Oladipo's shoulders were squared toward Batum, who then sent a bounce pass ahead to Lillard.
Lillard elevated for a right-handed dunk attempt, but Oladipo shifted quickly and blocked the ball above the rim with his right hand.
The announced crowd of 18,949 inside Portland's Moda Center let out a collective "Awww!"
The rest of the country noticed, too. Oladipo's block was ranked as the fourth-best play of the night on "SportsCenter."
On Thursday, Oladipo said a few people sent him vide of the block.
"It was pretty cool, a pretty athletic play," he said. "But I would've liked to have won the game, though."
Asked to describe what happened, Oladipo said, "I just tried to cut off Batum as fast as I could so I could get back to it. When I cut him off, I saw [Lillard] gather. So, I just jumped to try to contest it."
The play impressed Magic players and coaches.
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn was happy to see that Oladipo didn't let his initial bad pass prevent him from continuing to contest the play.
Power forward Glen Davis said: "It was a great block. He jumped really high. He's really athletic. He's a wonderful athlete."
Vucevic goes home
The Magic on Thursday sent Nik Vucevic from Portland, Ore., to Central Florida as Vucevic continues to recover from a concussion.
The Magic have three games remaining on their five-game road trip, and there was no realistic chance Vucevic would've completed the NBA's concussion protocol by the time the Magic played the trip's final game on Jan. 13.
Vucevic sustained his concussion during the Magic's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.
It was his second concussion since March 19, 2013.
His first concussion was labeled a "mild" concussion by team officials, and it caused him to miss five games over 10 days.
The Magic flew from Oregon to Sacramento on Thursday afternoon and worked out at the Sacramento Kings' practice facility, which is located next to Sleep Train Arena.
The Kings will host the Magic on Friday night.
Kings coach Michael Malone said he anticipates using the same starting lineup that he used in his team's last game, a 123-119 win Tuesday over the Portland Trail Blazers. In that game, he started Isaiah Thomas at point guard, Marcus Thornton at shooting guard, Rudy Gay at small forward, Jason Thompson at power forward and DeMarcus Cousins at center.
Missing in that quintet is heralded rookie swingman Ben McLemore, the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
McLemore has started 26 of the Kings' 32 games, but these days, Malone is bringing him off the bench.
"Ben was struggling, and I tried to put him in a better position to have some success and just to relax mentally," Malone said. "I think he's putting so much pressure on himself, and I don't want to see him struggle like he was."
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