Maurice Harkless believes in saving his best for last.
The season might be winding down for the Orlando Magic, but Harkless prefers to be playing his best basketball right now. He certainly did Friday night when the Magic put in an impressive performance before losing to one of the better teams in the NBA, the Oklahoma City Thunder, 97-89.
Harkless has been playing decent basketball lately, but his game went up a few notches against the Thunder. The Magic have wisely been giving Harkless more minutes the past two months to see what he might be able to do. He’s been averaging 23.5 minutes a game but was able to get 31 and 35 minutes in his first two games last week. He responded by hitting 9-of-25 from the floor and 2-of-5 in 3-pointers for first two games combined with 14 rebounds, seven steals and 21 points. He had no turnovers in either game.
Against the Thunder, Harkless had two turnovers, but he could be excused for that in the 45 minutes of action. Harkless had a phenomenal night with 11-of-18 shooting from the floor, plus 2-of-3 in 3-point attempts, nine rebounds, four steals and four blocks.
It resembled his performance from five nights earlier against the Milwaukee Bucks when he was 9-of-17 from the floor and 2-of-4 in threes for 23 points.
Unfortunately for the Magic, they have still lost six in a row despite the fact they’re playing good basketball against some of the top teams in the NBA. But Harkless’ performance is giving Magic fans some hopes for the future.