Severe Lack of Magic in Denver, Orlando Loses Again
The Orlando Magic finished their four game West coast road trip Tuesday night with a 111-94 loss in Denver to Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets. A shorthanded Magic team was unable to finish the game strong, or at all, and Denver closed the game with a 24-6 run. The Magic led 88-87 with a little over 9 minutes left in the game following a rare 5-point play from J.J. Redick (fouled on a 3 pointer, plus drew a technical foul on J.R. Smith), but from that point on the team fell apart.
The technical foul that was called on J.R. Smith seemed to ignite the always hot-headed Nugget and Carmelo Anthony continued his domination from the entire game. During the final 9 minutes both Smith (8) and Anthony (9) outscored the Magic. Carmelo finished the game with 35 points and was able to score at will no matter which of the aging, overpaid duo of Rashard Lewis or Vince Carter was guarding him.
J.J. Redick led the Magic in scoring with a career high 29 points and Dwight Howard scored 21. The Magic were without 5 players from their roster of 14 tonight. Mickael Pietrus, Quentin Richardson, Chris Duhon, Ryan Anderson and Daniel Orton were all unavailable and once again resulted in Stan having to play many different lineup variations.
With that being said, the team had no excuse to play as poorly defensively as they did. It’s one thing for Carmelo to get his points, but everyone else on the team had a balance scoring attack and it seemed like every player that came into the game was beat off the dribble at least once. The bottom line is that this team cannot guard anyone consistently. Defense is all about effort and desire and that effort was almost entirely absent over the last four games.
The reason that this team has been successful over the last few years is because of it’s team defense. Not only is that team defense gone at the moment, so is any semblance of heart. I hate to say it, but as this team currently stands… they are nothing more than another second round playoff exit waiting to happen.
Brian Serra is the founder of MagicBasketballOnline.com. You can follow/add him on Twitter and on Facebook. Compare pricing of Orlando Magic tickets for all future games using TiqIQ to find the best deals!