NEWARK, Del. — Rodney Purvis scored 37 points and Jamel Artis added 29 to lead the Lakeland Magic past the Delaware 87ers 118-93 at the Bob Carpenter Center on Tuesday night.
The Sevens trailed 60-40 at halftime and were down by as many as 30 points in the second half but rallied to make the score 84-77 in the third quarter. However, Lakeland hit timely 3-pointers and pulled away late to seal the win.
Here are three takeaways from the 87ers’ first meeting with Lakeland this year:
Lakeland uncharacteristically hit a ton of threes
The Magic came into this game averaging 9.6 made threes on 28.3 attempts per game. They shoot less than 34 percent from distance as a team and have the third-lowest effective field goal percentage in the G League. Makes perfect sense then that Lakeland hit 19 of 47 three-point shots (40.4 percent), right? The Magic found an early shooting stroke and never let up. Even when the Sevens clawed their way back into the game, Lakeland found a way to stick daggers in Delaware’s heart.
Rodney Purvis was the catalyst, going 9-15 from distance and finishing with a game-high 37 points. Think about this: Purvis made nearly as many threes as his team usually hits per game.
The Sevens showed a lot of pride in their comeback attempt
This 87ers turn the ball over too much, but that doesn’t mean they don’t compete. Delaware was down by 30 points in the third quarter but made the contest a tight one in the fourth, with the score at 84-77 at one point in the fourth.
Emeka Okafor led the charge without lighting up the stat sheet. He finished with two points and eight rebounds (five offensive), but that doesn’t do justice to the effort he put out there. Okafor, a 35-year old with nothing to prove to anyone, fought for every rebound and loose ball and led his young team by example. It’s an invaluable resource for the players in their 20s to have Okafor there as a mentor, and it’s a role he certainly relishes.
Delaware was again bitten by the turnover bug
The Sevens finished with 24 turnovers, which became 28 Lakeland points. When your opposition is already on fire from three, constant cough-ups only serve as fuel. Every 87er who played had at least one turnover, the second straight game that’s been the case.
It’s frustrating for the coaching staff and the players because this team definitely has the talent to compete with most any squad in the league. Part of it is the fact that the team’s personnel changes essentially every week and another part of it is that Delaware always seems like it’s down a few players, be it through injury or otherwise. Still, averaging nearly 20 turnovers per game is incredibly difficult to overcome.