After a night of mostly forgettable basketball on both sides, the winning play was executed to perfection.

Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick had the ball on the right side with the team leading 98-97 and about 40 seconds remaining. When Cleveland’s defense closed and then a second defender took a step toward Redick, Redick hit a cutting Nik Vucevic with a perfect bounce-pass for a lay-up with 32.3 seconds left.

The ol’ Nik and roll.

The Magic, who finished with 18 turnovers, but only two in the second half, continued to make plays.

On the often tricky out of bounds play, another Dukie, Josh McRoberts, got the ball into Redick.

The Cavs had no choice but to foul. J.J., who converted both attempts with 21.9 seconds left. Redick made eight consecutive free throws in the last 22 seconds as the Cavs desperately tried to work the clock, hoping the Magic would miss a free throw down the stretch

Redick was not the guy to foul, but he zig-zagged his way to find the ball every time against the Cavs.

“I tell you what, it’s hard with that guy,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said of Redick, who finished with 18 points. “He moves so well without the ball. That’s just a terrific job, and they do a terrific job of setting screens for him.”

The Cavs even tried to distract Redick while he was on the line – to no avail.

“I tried to talk to him and say everything …but he was just knocking shots down. I was telling him, ‘Can you miss?” I was playing, but I was serious: Like miss a shot, please. But he is a great shooter and he was able to knock down shots for his team.”

I blogged this last week, but this is more evidence why the Magic need to re-sign Redick. He’s a difference-maker, and cool in the clutch.

Arron Afflalo might be the starter at the 2 and a better defender, but you can argue that Redick makes just as large an impact in a different way.

Asked what felt better, making the eight free throws or making the pass, Redick said, with a smile, “The bounce pass.”

Once known primarily as a shooter, Redick now can “see” the entire game. Some players never get to this point. He has to be “a student of the game” because he cannot rely solely on his athletic ability.

What Redick says will be overlooked on The Play is Big Baby Davis moving out of the lane, clearing space for Vucevic to avoid “congestion” in the paint.

“You’re always learning. It’s doing your job. Seeing and understanding the game, the nuances. The more I’m in the NBA, the more I love the NBA,” Redick told me.

“I’ve become a full-fledged student of the game.”

Brian Schmitz is the Magic Insider for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him at And you can follow him on Twitter at