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Eastern Conference

Magic’s Nikola Vucevic Says Team Has to Start Winning Now

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Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic knows that the team’s latest struggles need to come to an end, and is stressing that the team needs to make that step forward to win more consistently.

“It’s on us, man,” Vucevic said, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “It’s really on us to respond, to play the right way, to play well and to try to get some wins. Things turn around quickly in this league. Just like two weeks ago, everything was great for us. We were right there.”

The Magic are currently battling for the 8th and final seed in the Eastern Conference, so a trip to the playoffs is within striking distance.

A win over Atlanta on Monday could be the kickstart that Orlando needs for the stretch run.

“It was nothing crazy,” Vucevic said. “I just told the team that this is it. These next couple of games we have to get some wins. Otherwise, it’s going to be very, very hard for us to achieve our goal to get to the playoffs. I just wanted to make sure that they understand that, that every game going forward for us is a big game. But it has to be done now.

“I felt like tonight we really did that. Obviously, it starts with us, the older guys, to make sure we take the lead. Then everybody else has to follow. So, hopefully, we can keep it up.”

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Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs’ Larry Drew Discusses Brandon Knight’s Play of Late

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The Cleveland Cavaliers knew that when they acquired Brandon Knight in a trade deadline deal with the Houston Rockets, that they were acquiring a player that may be a ways away from returning to form.

Knight, who missed the entire 2017-2018 season and appeared in only 14 games this season due to a torn ACL, has been showing signs of a return to form in his short stint with the Cavs, and it has caught the attention of Cavaliers’ head coach Larry Drew.

“I know what he’s gone through over a period with the injury and trying to come back from it,” Drew said of Knight, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

“I know what he’s capable of doing. I know what type of player he is. He’s a fierce competitor. Not only does he do it from an offensive end, but defensively, he’s a tough kid. That addition in our lineup gives us a little versatility as far as we can move people around. … And I know how bad he wants to get back to the Brandon Knight of old. Certainly if he can get back to that, you guys are going to see a terrific player.”

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Eastern Conference

Raptors’ Fred VanVleet Expected To Miss At Least Three Weeks

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Toronto Raptors Fred VanVleet is expected to be sidelined at least three weeks after he suffered a partial ligament injury in his left thumb, according to an official team announcement.

VanVleet will wear a splint on the thumb for around 3 weeks before he will have it removed to be re-evaluated.

The Atlanta Hawks are expected to reach a buyout with point guard Jeremy Lin, who is expected to then sign with Toronto.

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Eastern Conference

Wizards’ Bradley Beal Optimistic About Team’s Direction

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The Washington Wizards are enduring what some would call a nightmarish season, and it may seem like they are on the verge of blowing it all up, but superstar Bradley Beal is encouraged following his meeting with team owner Ted Leonis recently.

“It went really well. I’d personally rather not talk about what we talked about, but it went really well” Beal said of the meeting, according to the Washington Times’ Matthew Paras.

“It was pretty much just talking about what we’re going to do moving forward.”

Washington will have to make some moves this offseason to give Beal some help, and compensate for the loss of John Wall, who is expected to be sidelined for a year.

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