Postgame Report: Magic 85, Bulls 73

by Josh Cohen

LAS VEGAS - The Orlando Magic’s unselfish style of play, particularly late in the season when they won 22 of their final 31 games, was one of the main reasons they made the playoffs.

During that final stretch, the Magic ranked No. 5 in assists, No. 4 in secondary assists, No. 3 in potential assists and No. 2 in assist to pass percentage.

Like the parent club, Orlando’s Summer League squad made a concerted effort throughout their time in Las Vegas to share the ball and play inside-out, which is the No. 1 way teams generate open looks from 3-point distance.

Late in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against the Bulls, their last of five contests during the competition, the Magic were able to build a double-digit lead largely because of their sharp ball movement, selflessness and excellent decision making.

More great passing down the stretch helped the Magic, who finished with 19 assists, pull away for an 85-73 victory.

From their first training camp practice on July 2 all the way up until the final buzzer of Saturday’s game, the Magic’s coaching staff wanted to drill home the importance of trust and continuity. Based on how they finished, it appears the lesson was well received.

“That type of stuff sometimes first day you can kind of tell that they get it, that they were going to play for each other,” Magic Summer League Head Coach Pat Delany said. “That’s what I saw. One through eighteen the whole time – whether it was practice, games, drill work – always pushing each other, challenging each other. In a situation where it’s Summer League and a lot of it is individually rewarded, it was great to see our guys just competing and being about each other all week.”

What the Magic also did well, particularly in the second half when the momentum shifted in their favor, was pick up their defensive intensity. Chicago committed 12 of its 19 turnovers after halftime, with many of those miscues occurring because of Orlando’s hard-nosed defense.

That side of the floor is where DaQuan Jeffries, a long, versatile wing player, made his presence felt the most, not just in this game but throughout Summer League.

To go along with his eight points and four rebounds against the Bulls, the 21-year-old recorded three blocks and two steals.

“I just think as a young guy, (he's) a great competitor, (brings) toughness,” Delany said about Jeffries. “Was it always perfect, no. But he had a look about him like I’m going to figure it out, I’m going to find a way. I thought he was a little fatigued early in the game and again it was no excuse. Every time I asked him he said he was good. And he just wanted to find a way to help our team and his teammates win and obviously it says a lot about a young guy.”

Amile Jefferson, one of the Magic’s two-way players last season, had another splendid game, going for 19 points and 12 rebounds before exiting with 2:25 left in the fourth after landing awkwardly. Isaiah Miles, who most recently played for Limoges CSP in France, chipped in with 13 points, while Lakeland Magic standout from the last two years John Petrucelli finished with 12.

The Magic, collectively, did a good job limiting Coby White, the No. 7 overall draft pick last month, from having a big scoring night. The former North Carolina Tar Heel finished with just seven points on 3-of-13 shooting from the floor and 0-of-4 from beyond the arc.

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