Those watching the Magic’s 109-107 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday will likely only remember the game-winning 12-footer tossed in by Evan Fournier as the buzzer sounded. That will be fine with Jerian Grant who fouled Detroit’s Reggie Bullock shooting a three-pointer with 2.5 seconds remaining.
Bullock made all three to tie the game at 107, setting the stage for Fournier’s heroics.
What will be forgotten by fans is the solid play at point guard by D.J. Augustin. The 10-year veteran out of Texas played an outstanding game on both ends of the floor.
He led all scorers with 26 points, but also chipped in with 8 assists with only one turnover. Augustin also played a game-high 38 minutes.
Without him, the Magic would not have won Sunday’s game and he was equally outstanding in Friday’s 116-87 rout of the Toronto Raptors. In that game, he had 17 points, 6 assists and again only one turnover.
“I mean, he’s playing at such a high level, and these last three games, he’s…scoring, organizing, but he’s back to being in the paint, driving the ball into the paint,” said Magic coach Steve Clifford after Sunday’s game.
Augustin’s effort against the Raptors will also fade quietly into history because his teammate, Nikola Vucevic had a monster game of 30 points, 20 rebounds and 8 assists. Only 9 players in the last 44 years accomplished that spectacular feat.
During the last three games, Augustin has done another thing required by a successful point guard to win close games. He converted 23 of 24 free throws during that time, included a 10-for-10 performance on Sunday.
Clifford was also impressed by the manner in which Augustin stepped up when he was needed to fill a gap. When Jonathan Simmons left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, Augustin stepped up, finishing the game even though he tweaked his ankle as well.
“I thought he was enormous,” said Clifford. “He really created the quality shots that we had in the last 6 minutes of the game.”
While he has played exceptionally well in these last three home games, Augustin and his teammates will find out if they can bring their recent success on the road. Over the next 11 days they will play 6 games away from home in four time zones.
First up is a trip to Charlotte on Monday to face the Hornets. It will be the first time for Clifford to return to the city where he coached for five seasons.
Stops in Chicago, Minnesota, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Utah will follow. At 16-19, the Magic are only one game behind Southeast Division leaders Charlotte and Miami.