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Bobcats Claim Battle of the Beleaguered

2013 February 19
by Adam Papageorgiou

There’s nothing more riveting than a matchup of the two worst teams in the league. Considering the rampant trade rumors, this may have indeed been JJ Redick’s last home game in a Magic jersey. It wasn’t a pretty one. Redick finished 4-for-14 from the field and an abhorrent 0-for-7 from 3-point range. His evening summarized Orlando’s 105-92 defeat. Other than double-doubles from Andrew Nicholson (2nd of the season) and Nikola Vucevic (30th of the season), as well as Maurice Harkless’ solid 15 points and 6 rebounds, the Magic men to be on the court with the bottom of the NBA basement Bobcats.

Coach Vaughn on running out of energy at the finish: “We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole. To be down 20 at halftime, we gave ourselves a chance. We fought back in the 3rd quarter. Probably one of our better defensive quarters in the entire year…”

Click below for interviews from Harkless, Afflalo, Vucevic, and Nicholson, as well as a continued recap of the game.

Orlando allowed Charlotte to score their most points in a first period this season. Lethargic defense was a large contributor to the Bobcats’ 68.2 FG% in that beginning session as Jacque Vaughn’s side was down 37-27 after the initial 12 minutes. Gerald Henderson was just flat out feasting on Afflalo’s weak defensive presence all evening. 18 points for Henderson and 14 first half points for Byron Mullens fueled Charlotte in obtaining a 20-point lead at the break. Mike Dunlap’s crew shot an Orlando opponent season-high 59.1 FG%. That’s unforgivable against a now 13-40 Bobcats roster.

At halftime, Magic fan ‘Steven’ drilled a halfcourt shot that earned him a $1,000 check. Maybe that miracle heave was felt inside the Orlando locker room because the Magic kicked off the second half on a 10-0 run. Then Charlotte went back to attacking the paint and creating open 3-point looks. Orlando messed around and found itself only down 80-70 entering the final period as the Magic youth were the reason for the shortening of their deficit.

Coach Vaughn on the trade deadline affecting his team’s focus: “If I had a yes or no answer I would say ‘no’. I think more than anything the break…Guys have their own responsibility of working out and shooting and staying in some form of conditioning and it’s the first game back.”

I can’t fathom ever seeing a game with as many travel/carrying calls as this contest had. Three Afflalo free throws with 4 minutes remaining in regulation got the Magic within just 2 points, 88-90. From there, Kemba Walker put the pedal to the floor and Charlotte got the best of this Magic bunch for a second time this year. Orlando departs for Dallas to complete their back-to-back Wednesday against the Mavericks.

Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.