Denver Defeats Dwight-less, Defenseless Magic
No Dwight, no problem. For the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets handed the Magic their 3rd straight loss on Sunday night, 104-101, as Dwight Howard sat out with what the team described as “back spasms”. Glen Big Baby Davis did his best Dwight impersonation, dropping 20 points and grabbing 16 rebounds and Jameer Nelson had a season high 27 points but it wasn’t enough to stop the hot shooting of the Denver Nuggets.
Denver shot 55.6% from the field on the night and were paced by Ty Lawson’s 25 point, 9 assist night. The 55.6% was the highest an opponent has shot against the Magic all season.
Stan Van Gundy said it best after the game, “We couldn’t stop them at all. At all.”
For the Magic they were hustling just to keep their deficit in single digits for most of the night. They trailed 99-90 with 1:47 to go in the 4th quarter, before J.J. Redick and Davis combined to spark a quick 7-0 run. Trailing by just two points and looking for a final crucial stop, Ryan Anderson tripped over his own feet on a defensive switch that left Ty Lawson wide open at the top of the elbow. Lawson knocked down the jumper to essentially seal the game as Ryan Anderson was carried off the floor.
Anderson was diagnosed immediately after the game with a right ankle sprain and is listed as day-to-day.
Howard sat out tonight’s game with what was described as “back spasms” after allegedly being punched in the lower back on Friday Night by Mavericks big man Brendan Haywood. Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy accused Haywood of throwing the punch. Haywood disagreed.
ESPN Dallas has that report, “”Man, I don’t know what’s wrong with Stan,” Haywood said after the Mavericks’ practice Sunday. “Stan’s going to say what Stan wants to say. We don’t gotta play them no more. The game’s over with.
This was just the 9th game Dwight has missed in his entire 8 season career. He missed 3 games with a sore knee in ’08-09 plus a 1 playoff game suspension, two last season with a stomach virus and two more last season due to league suspensions.
There is never a good time to have a 3-game losing streak, but this certainly could be considered one of the worst. With the team facing the chance to clinch the 3rd seed and to prove their position as at least being an outside contender to make a long playoff run, the team is instead heading in the wrong direction.
With the loss tonight, the Indiana Pacers are just .5 game back of Orlando and the Celtics and Hawks are all sitting just a 1.5 games away from the Magic’s 3rd seed. With just 13 games remaining on the schedule, this Magic team may literally be limping into the playoffs.
The Magic have Monday off before facing off against the Pistons in Detroit on Tuesday at 7:30 EST.