Victor Oladipo: ‘Continue To Play Hard, Not Defer’

Victor Oladipo dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Wednesday night for a little Hoosiers love fest with Scott Ferrall.

Ferrall, an Indiana grad, was gushing about the 12 points, nine rebounds and two assists that he had in his winter rec-league game.

“Can you feel me, Vic?!” Ferrall excitedly asked Oladipo.

“Yeah, I feel you,” Oladipo said, chuckling. “I feel you.”

In truth, Oladipo had better numbers Wednesday night against – no offense, Scotty – better competition. The Orlando guard went off for 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including 3-of-4 from three-point range and 5-of-6 from the foul line, in a 120-113 win over Houston. He also had six rebounds, six assists and three steals, displaying the all-around game that made Oladipo one of the best players in college basketball a few seasons ago – not to mention the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Ferrall jokingly called Oladipo “Mo Williams’ littler brother,” referencing Williams’ 52 points against the Pacers earlier this week.

“It’s just a good overall win, to be honest with you,” the all-business Oladipo said. “We needed a big win, and we just got to continue to keep playing hard.”

Aside from Devyn Marble – who finished with three points on 0-of-8 shooting – Orlando’s four starters gave Houston all it could handle. Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic (25), Channing Frye (15) and Elfrid Payton (15) combined for 87 points.

“It was a good overall team win,” said Oladipo, who had a sick 360 dunk in the victory. “We just got to build on it and continue to keep pushing and feeling out each other and continue to keep growing and just using each other’s juice out there.”

Ben Gordon had 12 points off the bench for Orlando, while Evan Fournier added nine points and three steals.

Houston, which placed all five starters in double figures, including James Harden, who finished with a team-high 26 points, actually shot the ball well. The Rockets shot 50.6 percent from the floor, 34.6 percent from three and 87 percent from the foul line – right in line with Orlando’s 48.9, 34.6 and 88.5, respectively.

Orlando, however, won the first quarter, 29-19, and the fourth quarter, 36-28, to get the win.

“We just played our pace – pushing the ball, making them make tough shots,” Oladipo said. “They made some tough shots today. But at the end of the day, we got some big stops. We just got to continue to keep playing this way and go back to the way we used to play and just continue to play hard and not defer.”

Orlando (15-27) is 12th in the Eastern Conference standings but is very much in the playoff hunt. The Magic are just 2.5 games behind Brooklyn (16-23) for the eighth playoff spot.

Orlando, which ranks 24th or worse in the league in scoring offense, rebounding and assists, will go for its third straight win this Friday against Memphis. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET.

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