Orlando Magic vs. Toronto Raptors 12/15/14: Video Highlights and Recap

As the Toronto Raptors continue to sit atop the Eastern Conference, they looked to keep the good momentum going against the Orlando Magic.

The Magic are improved from last season, but they’re still a work in progress as they look to get back to the franchise’s previous heights.

Watch the video for full highlights. 

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Orlando Magic’s Tobias Harris Hits Game-Winner to Take Down Atlanta Hawks

The Orlando Magic pulled out a 100-99 victory thanks to an incredibly clutch shot by Tobias Harris.

With the Magic trailing 99-98 and 3.4 seconds remaining, Harris received the inbounds pass and hoisted up a miracle that found the bottom of the net as time expired to lead the Magic to a key win over the East’s third-best team.

Harris finished with 20 points and six rebounds, but most importantly, he led his team to a win. 

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Orlando Magic: Tobias Harris Is on Pace to Make His 1st All-Star Appearance

The Orlando Magic boast an intriguing roster, one consisting of talented youngsters as well as a few solid veterans.

However, the future of this team rests in its youth. With core pieces such as rookie Elfrid Payton, second-year standout Victor Oladipo and double-double machine Nikola Vucevic, the Magic can realistically transform into an Eastern Conference contender in one to two seasons.

But one of Orlando’s most valuable players is unquestionably 22-year-old Tobias Harris. In fact, based on the small forward’s performance this season, he may be on pace to qualify for his first All-Star Game.

Harris can accomplish this through his ability to score at a high rate and secure a significant number of rebounds. 

Thus far, the Tennessee product has proven to be exceptional in putting the ball in the basket. He is averaging a career high of 18.9 points per game, he is leading the Magic in scoring and he is doing so while shooting an efficient 47.6 percent from the floor.

What’s impressive about Harris is that he’s producing points from everywhere on the court. Whether he is posting up on the block or knocking down threes—where he’s hitting a stunning 43.4 percent of his attempts, by the way—the 3-man is a threat from all areas.

This includes his talent for driving the lane, as his impeccable combination of athleticism and strength allows him to explosively attack the rim and finish consistently inside.

And every now and then—to all NBA enthusiasts’ pleasure—this aggressiveness will lead to incredible displays of sheer physical greatness:

Authoritative yet graceful. In other words: a perfect finish.

Considering these truths, it’s no wonder Harris ranks among the top-scoring small forwards in the East. According to ESPN.com, he is fourth in his conference in points, trailing only LeBron James (24.2), Carmelo Anthony (23.2) and Jeff Green (19.8).

Harris may only be fourth, but his average includes games he has played alongside another 18-plus-point- per-game scorer in Vucevic. In the four games Harris has performed sans Vucevic (who’s sidelined right now with a back injury), he’s produced an outstanding 20.5 points per contest.

As of now, Harris is one of the most elite-scoring small forwards in the NBA. This by itself will at least give him consideration for Eastern Conference All-Star qualification.

However, points alone won’t guarantee his place. What might help, though, is his gift for grabbing rebounds.

Harris is pulling down a superb 7.9 boards per night through 21 games played. While he may be second on his own squad in this area behind Vucevic (11.7), the 22-year-old is the best rebounding small forward in the entire NBA, according to ESPN.com.

The 3-man possesses exceptional instincts when crashing the boards. He can successfully predict the trajectory of the ball’s bounce, quickly react to make the play and utilize his length (6’11″ wingspan) to fully secure the rebound.

Not only is Harris a great defensive rebounder, but he is also admirable on the offensive glass as well. Although he’s averaging only 1.2 offensive boards per game, his hustle on this end will oftentimes lead to points.

Watch and witness the effort (skip to 0:22):

See what I mean? When he brings that type of energy, he and his team as a whole reap the rewards.

Harris’ rebounding has allowed him to accumulate multiple double-double outings as well. Based on stats from ESPN.com, he is tied for third among all 3-men in double-double performances with five.

Orlando boasts a bright future, and barring any setbacks in restricted free agency next summer, Harris will likely be a part of it.

The Magic possess quite a player in Tobias Harris. His potential is through the roof, and as long as he keeps up his high-level performance this season, he may very well qualify for his first All-Star Game in 2014-15. 


(Unless otherwise noted, all stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com) 

Josh Haar is an NBA Contributor for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JHaarNBA.

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Orlando Magic vs. Utah Jazz 12/5/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The Orlando Magic looked to pull themselves out of their recent tailspin on Friday night when they took on the Utah Jazz. The young Magic had lost two straight and six of their last seven, but they faced another tough test from the athletic young Jazz, who were mired in their own seven-game skid. 

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Magic Orlando Player Maurice Harkless Accused of Stealing Stripper’s Cell Phone

Magic Orlando forward Maurice Harkless was accused of taking a stripper’s cell phone early Monday morning.
TMZ reports that according to the San Francisco police, sources have confirmed that the NBA player came into a night club where he took a dancer’s cell phone and took it with him. They say the stripper tried to get her cell phone from him but he refused.
While the 22-year-old is currently under investigation a representative spoke out regarding the case.
“There must be a mistake in identity.  Maurice Harkless was not involved in any situation that involved taking a cell phone or any property,” the rep said.
“He would gladly work with authorities but the police have not been in contact with him or his representatives,” she added.
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Tobias Harris Showing He’s Invaluable Part of Orlando Magic’s Uncertain Future

A 7-14 start to the 2014-15 campaign may not sound like your traditional definition of success, but it’s a sign of progress for the Orlando Magic—especially when accounting for the fact that 14 of those first 21 games have been on the road.

The rebuilding franchise won just 23 games a season ago, Jacque Vaughn’s second as head coach. And while it may not be on pace to surpass that mark dramatically, there are tangible signs of growth.

Forward Tobias Harris is chief among them. The 22-year-old was acquired via trade from the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013 and instantly became a rotation fixture, averaging 36.1 minutes through his first 27 games in Orlando—a marked increase over the 11.6 minutes per game he’d been playing in Milwaukee.

Through 19 appearances this season, the fourth-year pro is tallying a career-high 18.3 points and 8.2 rebounds. While he isn’t a prolific three-point shooter, he’s making 40.5 percent of his attempts—which is pretty good for a strong 6’9″ frame that can mix it up inside.

The Tennessee product is taking his game to another level without losing sight of the team-first principles general manager Rob Hennigan treasures.

“We’ve just been focusing on team chemistry that the coaches have been giving us, we’ve been executing and things have been working,” Harris told reporters in November, per NBA.com’s John Denton. “When we play like a team and play team basketball, it’s fun to watch and everybody enjoys themselves.”

The Magic are hardly a one-man show. It’s a roster without superstar pedigree and the baggage that comes therewith. Alongside 24-year-old center Nikola Vucevic, a blossoming Evan Fournier and the rookie pair of Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon, Hennigan has assembled a promising young core.

Harris just happens to be something of an early bloomer, one of the first signs that this stockpile of raw talent could actually pay off.

He’s also become one of the first major contract decisions Hennigan has faced since his arrival in 2012. The two sides failed to reach agreement on an extension in October, but there doesn’t seem to be any lingering bitterness.

“It’s not personal. It’s just business. That’s the way you’ve got to look at it,” Harris told NBA.com’s Denton last month. “We’re past that point (for a contract extension). There’s no hard feelings at all, and it’s just business.

“As a basketball player this is my job, this is what I come out to do and this is what I love to do. It’s all about how I approach the game and help my team now. I just go out there and play basketball. I’ll let everything else handle itself.”

That’s not a surprising sentiment from someone having a career season in advance of his restricted free agency in July. The Magic retain the right to match any offer Harris receives on the open market, and it could be a significant one given the current economic climate.

Young swingmen cashed in this summer. Chandler Parsons (three years, $45 million), Gordon Hayward Aaron Gordon (four years, $63 million) and Klay Thompson (four years, $69 million) have established something of a price range for emerging stars on the wing. Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler join Harris among free agents poised to claim similar hauls in 2015.

Pricey though he’ll be, Orlando would be wise to keep Harris in the fold. And he’s indicated an interest in sticking around.

“Obviously, I want to be here…I love the fans, the city of Orlando and the guys,” Harris told the Orlando Sentinel‘s Brian Schmitz in September (subscription required). “Management knows I want to be here. It’s the perfect situation for me.” 

Should his hometown New York Knicks make a strong push, however, Harris might prefer a change of scenery.

TheKnicksBlog.com’s Adam Zagoria cited “a Harris confidant” in November who suggested, “I’m telling you if the Knicks come at him hard, who wouldn’t want to play for their hometown team?”

Harris is from Long Island and has a strong relationship with Carmelo Anthony, with whom he played as recently as this summer.

“They play well together,” Zagoria‘s source added. “Carmelo always had him on his team when Kevin Durant came to town, and they would win every game.”

It’s certainly a plausible scenario.

As the New York Post‘s Marc Berman notes:

The Knicks will have a ton of cap space in 2015. They are capable of signing their No. 1 target, center Marc Gasol, and could still have room for the versatile Harris…The Knicks will have even more cap room if J.R. Smith opts out.

New York may very well have other priorities given its assortment of needs, but guys like Harris will be in high demand one way or another. His combination of size, shooting ability, athleticism and two-way pedigree will elicit some serious dollars from somewhere.

Then Hennigan and Co. will have some thinking to do.

The Magic would have preferred to lock Harris up via a more modest extension, but that would have made little sense for Harris, who was somewhat limited by a nagging ankle sprain last season. He’s back to full health and now has an opportunity to audition his improved skill set to potential suitors. 

But Orlando can ill afford to take a step back at this juncture, still just beginning to scrape itself off the floor of Eastern Conference standings. Massive investments always come with some risk attached, but the organization will only have so many opportunities to acquire another player of Harris’ caliber. 

It’s probably better off retaining a known commodity, no matter the cost.

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Orlando Magic vs. Los Angeles Clippers 12/3/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The red-hot Los Angeles Clippers looked to keep their win streak rolling on Wednesday when they took on the Orlando Magic. The Clippers had won five straight and seven of their last eight, and faced a slumping Magic squad that had dropped five of its last six. 

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(VIDEO) Stephen Curry Game Winner Steals Victory For Golden State Over Orlando

Stephen Curry hit a game winning three pointer down 2 with 2.2 seconds left to give the Golden State Warriors a 98-97 win over the Orlando Magic. The Warriors were down 93-84 with 4:11 left before making  a big comeback to steal the victory.
Curry finished with 25 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds on the night. Golden State improved their record to 15-2 and raised their winning streak to 10 victories in a row.
Here’s video of the moment:

Video Credit: NBA
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Watch Stephen Curry Hit Game-Winning 3-Pointer vs. Orlando Magic

Point guard Stephen Curry extended the Golden State Warriors‘ winning streak to 10 games by draining a go-ahead three-pointer with just 2.2 seconds remaining in the team’s 98-97 victory over the Orlando Magic Tuesday night in Oakland.

Heroics of this sort have become anything but surprising when Curry’s involved. This time, the all-important bucket secured a 15-2 record for the Warriors, which ties the Memphis Grizzlies for the league’s best mark. Curry finished with 22 points and five assists.

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Orlando Magic vs. Phoenix Suns 11/30/14: Video Highlights and Recap

If the Orlando Magic were to break their four-game losing streak on Sunday, they’d have to go through the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns have continued to build off last season’s momentum and started the campaign at a solid 10-7, looking to crack the postseason after missing out in 2013-14.

Watch the video for full highlights.

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