Nikola Vucevic must like the number 21. It was certainly a big figure for Vucevic and the Orlando Magic.
Those were the numbers he put up on Sunday in a 91-85 NBA loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 42 minutes of superb action, he was 10-of-20 from the floor and hit a free throw for 21 points. He had eight offensive and 13 defensive rebounds for 21 total.
But 21 wasn’t a big enough number to spring the slumping Magic to victory.
Vucevic continues to play incredible basketball for the Magic and is not letting the team’s 19-59 record be too frustrating for him. The team has only been using nine players per game because of injuries, but Vucevic thrives on playing time. Give him more floor minutes and he’ll get those points and rebounds into Orlando’s column.
It’s too bad he can’t be rewarded with a victory as the Magic continue to improve their NBA Lottery chances for the No. 1 pick. They have lost nine in a row and most likely aren’t going to win for the rest of the season.
Vucevic also had six assists and two blocks against Cleveland. His bouncing out and rebounding talent have especially been impressive as he’s usually been in double-figures. His 51.5 shooting percentage isn’t bad either. Vucevic’s improvement from last season has been astounding when he was averaging only 15.9 minutes a game with the Philadelphia 76ers along with 5.5 points and 4.8 rebounds.
But perhaps even better numbers from him will give the Magic more wins before the season ends.