By Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel
7:48 PM AKST, January 15, 2013
Ish Smith has played sparingly this season, but in the Orlando Magic's last two games, he provided two of the best highlights of the team's season.
In Saturday's 104-101 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, the 6-foot-tall point guard dribbled down the court on a fastbreak and jumped from the dotted line near the foul line. Smith made an emphatic, right-handed slam as Eric Bledsoe fouled him hard on the right side of his face, and Smith fell to the court.
Almost everyone on the Magic sideline leaped off their seats, even the assistant coaches, and cheered.
In Monday's 120-91 loss to the Washington Wizards, John Wall caught an entry pass near the Magic's hoop. Smith jumped, and Wall ducked slightly, and Smith sailed over Wall's head. A fraction of a second later, Wall attempted a shot from 7 feet, but Smith turned around and blocked it.
The play was so shocking that, during the run of play, Fox Sports Florida game analyst Matt Guokas said, "Oh, my. He just jumped over his head!"
The play will continue to live on over the Internet and, perhaps, in "SportsCenter" highlight reels.
"I just remember he beat me backdoor, and so I just tried to recover," Smith said. "John ducked and then I tried to recover back. I'm just in the moment playing, but at the end of the day, it's just a tough loss for us.
"We'll get this one out of our system, get home, get some wins," he added. "But on that specific play, I was just playing."
Smith spent much of the offseason recovering from surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder.
And, in recent days, he's proven that, despite his small stature, he's one of the most athletic players on the Magic roster.
"He's very athletic in his game," Jameer Nelson said. "He surprises people because he's a small guy like myself. But one thing about it is he just has to continue to work on things he has to work on, because his athleticism is always going to be there for him."
The Magic did not hold a formal practice Tuesday following their nine-day road trip to Portland, Ore.; Denver; Los Angeles and Washington.
The team will hold a shootaround this morning at Amway Center to prepare for its game tonight against the Indiana Pacers.
Ayón on mend
Center/power forward Gustavo Ayón, who did not join the Magic on their road trip while he rehabbed from a right quadriceps contusion, will not play in tonight's game, according to the Magic's official injury report.
The 6-foot-10 big man has missed six of the Magic's past seven games, including five in a row.
He worked out on Tuesday, and he could return at some point in the next week.
Stadium Journey Magazine, a monthly publication, recently unveiled its list of the top 101 stadium experiences of 2012.
Amway Center ranked 11th overall in the survey of the magazine's 80-plus contributors.
Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts, finished first overall.
Fenway Park was second, while Daytona International Speedway ranked fourth for when it hosts the Daytona 500.
Staples Center ranked 10th overall — highest among NBA arenas — for Los Angeles Lakers home games.
Staples Center also ranked 90th overall for when it was the site of Los Angeles Clippers home games.