Vucevic: The Orlando Magic have had a forgettable December — until Friday night.Nikola Vucevic had 30 points and 20 rebounds and the Magic snapped a four-game losing streak with a 116-87 rout of the Toronto Raptors.D.J. Augustin had 17 points and six assists for Orlando, which had five players in double figures and a 60-41 rebounding advantage.
Vucevic became the third player this decade, fifth this century and ninth in the last 44 years to post at least 30 points, 20 rebounds and eight assists in a game, the Magic said. Charles Barkley (three times), DeMarcus Cousins (twice), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, George McGinnis, David Lee, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Alex English are the other players to accomplish the feat since 1974.
“I think guys understood that it was time for us to turn things around,” Vucevic said.”Tonight everything clicked for us on both ends, but defense is probably the main reason we won.”
After making eight of their first 12 shots, including a couple of 3-pointers by Fred VanVleet, the Raptors took a 19-9 lead. But Toronto made just 11 of its next 51 shots until Kawhi Leonard dunked late in the third quarter with Orlando leading 91-60.
“This is a big boy’s league and these nights happen, it’s nothing new,” VanVleet said. “We are not the first team to lose like this.”The Magic, who had lost five straight to Toronto, outscored the Raptors 51-16 over a 16-minute span of the middle periods and led by as many as 31 points late in the third quarter.
Leonard scored 21 points for the Raptors, who shot 29.5 percent in the final game of a three-game trip. Serge Ibaka added 17 points and eight rebounds.The Raptors (26-11) came into the game with the best record in the Eastern Conference, but fell percentage points behind Milwaukee with the loss.
“I just think guys like him when you’ve done it for, I think really, now three or four year, he’s around 17 [points] a game with good efficiency,” Clifford said. “For the most part they’re going to work their way close to that by the end of the year. He’s been, I think, the last six games he’s like almost 19 [points] game at good efficiency.
“And you know, he’s shooting the ball better, which again sets everything up for him.”In his past five games, Fournier is averaging 18.6 points and shooting 46 percent from the field (31-for-68). That scoring average is nearly three points higher than his season mark (15.5).
In his past three games, Fournier has averaged 19 points a game on 50-percent shooting, including 12-for-24 from 3-point range.Overall, Fournier is shooting 42.3 percent, down slightly from his career mark of 44.5 percent. The biggest dip has come from long range. He’s making 3-pointers at a 33.2-percent clip compared to his career average of 37.4 percent.