Arron Afflalo returned to the floor Friday night, starting for the Orlando Magic in their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
Afflalo hadn't played since he strained his left calf Jan. 27 and spent the previous two games away from the team as he dealt with a personal matter in Southern California.
But Afflalo hopes he made an impact when he wasn't playing. During that time, he encouraged rookie small forward Maurice Harkless to be more assertive. In the six games Afflalo didn't play, Harkless' shot attempts per 48 minutes rose to 13.9 from 10.6 before that.
"I'm very happy with him the past two or three games," Afflalo said of Harkless. "It's not all about the numbers. Sometimes, it's just about the confidence, the knowing that you can get out there and compete at a high level, regardless if you're a rookie or in your sixth year. Hopefully, when I come back now, he keeps that aggression level, keeps that confidence."
Vucevic rarin' to play
Nik Vucevic was eating dinner in Cleveland when TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal drafted players onto teams for the Rising Stars Challenge game on Feb. 15 at All-Star weekend.
Vucevic wound up on Barkley's squad, Team Chuck.
"I think it'll be fun," Vucevic said Friday. "I've never had a chance to meet him, so it'll be fun to get a chance to meet him. I think we've got a pretty good team, and we'll have a chance. We'll see. Hopefully, we can get a win."
Afflalo wants Harkless to remain assertive
Orlando Sentinel | Feb 9