Magic defeat Flamengo in preseason home opener

Nikola Vucevic scored 20 points and made 8-12 shots from the field to help the Orlando Magic defeat Brazilian side Flamengo 106-88 in their preseason home opener at the Amway Center on Wednesday.

The team opened up home play to an announced attendance of 13,734, with the Amway full of Americans and Brazilians alike to kick off their season at home.

The Magic took an early 34-23 lead in the first quarter. Tobias Harris led the early effort going 3-6 from the floor, 1-2  from three-point range and 1-2 from the free throw line for eight points, while remaining on the court for over nine minutes.

Orlando would retain their lead throughout the first half entering the locker room at 55-49. Vucevic would show his skill in the second quarter, going 3-4 from the field and collecting six rebounds, earning 13 total points by halftime.

Entering the third quarter, eleven-year NBA veteran Luke Ridnour would come off the bench to make 2-3 shots from the field, a three-pointer, and two free throws to lead the quarter with seven points.

The final quarter was then dominated by the Magic with a charge led by 2014 first-round pick out of Arizona, Aaron Gordon, who would make 4-7 shots from the field, one free throw, and five rebounds. Flamengo would only score 16 points in the final 12 minutes.

Gordon finished the game scoring 15 points, going 7-13 with nine rebounds and three assists.

“What you do feel is his aggressiveness on the floor,” said Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn about Gordon. “Whether it’s going for an offensive rebound or playing post defense, you feel him when you are watching the game, and thats a good start.”

Orlando would finish the game making 53.8 percent of their shots from the field, 54.5 percent of three-pointers and 69.6 percent of their free throw attempts.

Flamengo attempted to establish their international play style by focusing on a longer distance, three-pointer based game plan, attempting 31 three-pointers but only making nine of them. Making only 40.2 percent of the shots attempted, Flamengo was having trouble finding the hoop.

The Magic would control the game inside the paint, making 28-45 shots for 56 points, while Flamengo would go only 19-32 for 38 points.

Rookie guard out of Louisiana-Lafayette Elfrid Payton would stay on the court the longest on the team, for over 30 minutes, but does not have the stats to show for it, making only four points the entire game and turning over the ball six times. Payton did have five assists for the game.

With 2012 draftee, and starting guard Victor Oladipo out with a sprained MCL, the rest of the team had a chance to step up and show what they can do.

“We will continue to challenge our guys. We are going to use everybody.” said Vaughn about their roster and the pace of the game, “We need everyone for us to have a chance. We will continue to stress pushing the pace.”

The Magic will return to their home court of the Amway Center for their next game on Friday, Oct. 17, against the Detroit Pistons at 7 p.m.