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Jameer Nelson’s Return Brings Magic Victory – Turns Out, Point Guards Matter

2012 November 17
by Matt Jensen

Welcome back Jameer!  Jameer Nelson returned to the starting lineup Friday night and sparked the Magic to a 110-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons.  The win snapped a 5 game losing streak.  The ten year veteran had a double-double (13 points/10 assists) and delivered a wake up call to the sluggish Magic during a timeout late in the 3rd quarter.  After Jameer lit into his teammates, the Pistons were unable to match the Magic’s energy and desire which would carry them to the win.   The Palace of Auburn Hills has not always been friendly to the Orlando Magic, but that was a different time and a different Magic team.  It was a tough, gritty comeback win for this new look Magic squad to get the 3 game road trip off to a nice start.

J.J. Redick led the Magic in scoring with 23 points including a key 3 pointer drawn up by Coach Vaughn to give Orlando a 2-point lead with 42 seconds left. They would never trail after that.  Arron Afflalo had 19 points along with some key free throws and timely defense on Greg Monroe to seal the win.  Balanced scoring was a key, with all five starters scoring in double figures. Nikola Vucevic also had a double-double with key rebounds and accurate passing.

Balanced scoring and rebounding were the keys tonight.  The Magic again out rebounded their opponents by a margin of 14 boards.  Gustavo Ayon contributed well off the bench and while rookies Moe Harkless and Andrew Nicholson didn’t match their point totals of the last game, both played well in short spurts off the bench.   The Magic were averaging just 88 points on the young season but went well over that against the Pistons.

The game started with both teams shooting a high percentage, most of that due to Orlando’s soft interior defense.  Greg Monroe and Jason Maxiell had their way inside the painted area against the inexperienced centers of Orlando.  The majority of the first half featured the teams trading baskets, neither getting off to a big lead.  After halftime the Pistons went on a run that lasted until the critical timeout where Jameer Nelson showed why he is so valuable to this young team.  Coming out of that timeout the Magic outscored the Pistons 48-31 and played with a sense of purpose and fire.

To start the 4th quarter Coach Vaughn rested his starters and came out with a unit of reserves, but that only lasted 2 minutes as the Pistons started on a 6-0 run.  Coach took a timeout and a line change was in order with all 5 starters returning.  This is the kind of win, even bigger on the road, that a young team can build on.

It was great to watch the bench that last ten minutes, up and into every play – even Kyle O’Quinn’s modified Gangnam style celebrations.  The guys were having fun and were there for each other.  It was a good team win that hopefully will translate into wins in March and April as this team grows and matures.   It’s going to be an up and down year Magic fans, so enjoy wins like tonight. When this team is having fun and playing together, it’s a truly fun product to watch.

The Magic return to action Sunday afternoon against the Raptors in Toronto.

Matt Jensen is new to the MBO team and a proud contributing writer. He operates as MBO’s Sr. Sioux Falls Correspondent. Follow him on Twitter here.

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