Poise and Confidence Lead the Magic Past the Warriors
The Orlando Magic defeated the Golden State Warriors 102-94 on Monday night to start off the west coast road trip with back to back wins. Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis led the scoring with 24 a piece. J.J. Redick had 22 off the bench, once again coming up clutch with big three’s and penetration passing. Nik Vucevic added 14 points and 15 rebounds. Stephen Curry paced the Warriors with 25 points, but it was not to be on this night. Orlando played with maximum effort, selfless basketball, and simply worked harder than Golden State.
Everyone came into tonight wondering how the Magic would respond to last night’s statement win over the Lakers. That question was answered very early when Orlando withstood the Warriors early rally and kept the score close throughout the first quarter. Afflalo and Davis carried the Magic thru most of the first half, continuing right on from the Laker game. Davis and Afflalo seem to have found their offensive rhythm in the state of California, both looking confidently for their shots while Coach Vaughn continued to do a superb job of managing his team in the first half with timely time outs and rest for the starters.
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J.J. Redick had a quiet first half, but more than made up for it in the second, pushing the Magic to a lead. The solid play of the bench allowed Coach Vaughn to rest the starters again down the stretch of the quarter, so the leaders of this team could be ready for another chance to take control of the game and close out an opponent on the road. Just like last night, Orlando responded with poise down the stretch, increasing the lead to as much as 12 points. I haven’t written about Jameer Nelson yet. The captain had a workmanlike 7 point, 9 assist performance, but what he brought tonight isn’t anywhere on the stat sheet. He’s the leader of this team on the floor and in the huddle. Orlando is 6-4 with Jameer in the lineup, 1-6 without.
What a 48 hrs for the Magic.Revenge vs Dwight and a win in Oakland. Orlando executes, shares the ball and competes.Like this team a lot.
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerrTNT) December 4, 2012
My favorite stat of the night reads, 29 assists on 40 field goals. These last two nights have shown us such promise. We’re starting to see a team form here, an identity. This team will be well coached, well prepared with a winning gameplan each night. If they come out and compete and out work their opponents, and share the basketball good things will happen for the Orlando Magic this season. I continue to be impressed by their ability to close games. Jameer, J.J., and Glen are seasoned veterans and Coach Vaughn is acting like a veteran coach, making the right moves and getting the most out of his players. As this trip goes on we’ll see a more confident and cohesive team. These wins will pay dividends long-term.
The Magic get a much deserved day off tomorrow before continuing the road trip in Salt Lake City Wednesday night. Tip off is 9 pm.
Matt Jensen is MBO’s Sr. Sioux Falls Correspondent. Follow him on Twitter here.