Beatdown in Beantown
The Orlando Magic fell to the Boston Celtics 97-84 on Friday night in Boston. The final score was not indicitive of how badly the Magic played. Bad luck again plagued the Magic as team leader Jameer Nelson went down in the first half with a forearm contusion. Im not sure if Jameer’s presence for the whole game would have helped on this night however. Orlando lost its 8th straight, and its 19th out of the last 21 games.
The effort was there tonight for the Magic, but for the majority of the night, the shots just didn’t fall. Orlando shot just 38% for the game. They were led in scoring by J.J. Redick’s 15 points. Andrew Nicholson contributed his first career double double tonight with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Nik Vucevic posted his now customary double double also. For most of the first half it seemed that these three players were the only ones on the floor, as they carried Orlando in every category. After Jameer went out, E’Twaun Moore had a decent game off the bench chipping in 14 points.
The Magic hung around til midway through the 3rd quarter, and when Coach Vaughn took Redick out for a breather, Orlando had very little scoring options and the lead ballooned to as much as 20. With the injuries to Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo, and Jameer Nelson going out of this game, the scoring load is going to fall hard on Redick and Vucevic. If Hedo Turkoglu could give any contribution off the bench it would help, but Hedo is really struggling right now. He’s two steps slow and his shots aren’t anywhere close.
Coach Vaughn took J.J. and Nik out with about 9 minutes left to play and emptied the bench. I love when those guys come in and provide energy. Kyle O’Quinn had 11 points in 7 minutes tonight and played with his usual vigor and love of the game. Tomorrow night’s game in Milwaukee poses a whole new set of problems for the Magic. With the injuries, they need to get the ball inside to Nicholson and Vucevic much more. Vucevic and Redick have shown some chemistry, so look for pick and rolls on their side, and Nicholson is a wizard within 12 feet of the basket. To combat the guard tandem of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, the Magic need to play Ish Smith and Moore together if Nelson is unable to play.
I have a good feeling about tomorrow’s game in Milwaukee. Adversity will bring out the leadership on this team. Expect a strong effort, and this team getting back on the right track no matter who plays. Tip off is set for 8:30.
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.