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The Orlando Magic can salvage their season if, and only if, they replicate the cheap youth nba jerseys spirit and effort they showed during the final 21 minutes of their game Sunday night against the Boston Celtics.
That stretch must serve as the Magic's benchmark from now on.
The critical turning point arrived during a stoppage in play. The Celtics outhustled the cheap china nba jerseys Magic to open the third quarter and built a 67-54 lead, forcing Orlando coach Scott Skiles to call a timeout. Skiles ripped into his players, challenging them to play with the same effort they showed throughout the first month and a half of their season.
The players complied. Fueled by their coach's reminder, as well as by swingman Evan Fournier and 20-year-olds Mario Hezonja and Aaron Gordon, the Magic recovered and beat the Celtics 119-114 at Amway Center.
"I thought we looked more like ourselves," Skiles said afterward. "From that point on, we hustled. When we scramble and hustle and play hard, cheap custom nba jerseys usually good things happen for us."
The victory arrived at a crucial time. The Magic snapped an eight-game losing streak and won for just the second time in 14 games this calendar year.
"I think we really got back to our foundation," Gordon said.
Orlando rallied twice: from the 13-point deficit early in the third quarter and from a five-point deficit with 6:55 remaining in the game.
Down 95-90 midway through the cheap nba jerseys kids fourth quarter, the Magic reeled off nine consecutive points.
Tobias Harris banked in a shot as he absorbed a foul by Jonas Jerebko, and Harris made the ensuing free throw, cutting the deficit to two points.
A short while later, Fournier caught a pass from Nik Vucevic and sank a 3-pointer.
After a pair of Celtics misses, Hezonja cheap nba jerseys received a Vucevic pass and made a trey, putting Orlando up 99-95 with 4:46 to play and forcing Boston coach Brad Stevens to call a timeout. The basket probably ranks as the biggest basket of Hezonja's brief NBA career, and Vucevic celebrated the moment by patting Hezonja on the back of the head.
In a career-high 33 minutes, Hezonja scored a career-high 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting and added three assists.
"We're a young team," Hezonja said. "We've got to outplay cheap nba jerseys our [opponents] with our energy. So that was the key."
Gordon also provided a boost, trying a career high with 19 points and collecting a career-high 14 rebounds.
The game's turning point occurred in the Magic huddle with Orlando trailing by 13 with 8:39 left in the third quarter.
Once again, as they had throughout January, the Magic were playing soft.
Skiles appealed to his players' pride.
"He basically challenged us to rise to the occasion," Gordon said. "There wasn't anything that he could say [about] X's-and-O's, and that's really what it came down to. There was nothing he could write on the white board. It was just whether we had heart or not, and we picked it up."
The Magic (21-25) and the Celtics (27-22) played two nights earlier in Boston, and the Celtics thumped the Magic 113-94.
Sunday was different.
Six Magic players scored in double figures, led by Fournier, who scored 24 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
"They got some energy plays and they rode the wave," Celtics swingman Evan Turner said.
Orlando played its best defensive game in weeks. Boston made 16 of its 46 attempts from 3-point range and finished the game shooting 41.9 percent from the field.
Marcus Smart, a backup point guard, scored a game-high 26 points, and he completed a four-point play with 14.6 seconds remaining to pull Boston within 117-114.
But Vucevic sealed the Magic's win a few seconds later by sinking a pair of free throws.
"We're a hustle team," Skiles said. "We've got to be flying around. Even if we make mistakes, we have to stay in plays. Like a lot of teams in the league, we don't have just one guy that can bail us out of situations when we get in them. We've got to be flying around all the time."