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Magic Down and Out in Lob City

2014 January 7
by Matt Jensen
One of many big slams from the Clippers on the evening

One of many big slams from the Clippers on the evening

The Orlando Magic started off their 5-game west coast road trip with a thud Monday night in Los Angeles, falling by a score of 101-81.  The Magic were out played, out hustled, and out coached tonight.  Yes, the talent disparity between the teams showed tonight, but, man, the Magic don’t seem like they’re having much fun out there.  The first unit played with no passion or energy.  Glen Davis was particularly awful early in the game.   The only bright spots tonight were Maurice Harkless and Victor Oladipo, who each finished with 22 points

Nik Vucevic was back in the starting lineup tonight, but went out after suffering a concussion in the 3rd quarter.  Nik awkwardly went over Blake Griffin’s back and landed face first on the floor.  He walked to the locker room under his own power.  Hopefully everything is ok and we don’t have a replay of last year’s concussion issues.

If you were watching the Florida State game and are reading this to find out what happened, I will save you all the gory details.  Orlando came out sloppy and uninspired.  They were down 36-18 after the 1st quarter and never recovered.  At halftime the score was 60-34 with the Clippers 20 field goals coming on 19 assists.  It wasn’t exactly a defensive clinic.

The second half was more of the same.  The second unit did bring more energy.  Mo and Vic ended up with decent games, and they managed to cut the Clipper’s lead down to 16 half way through the 4th, but that was as close as the Magic would come tonight.

With such a young team, hopefully this road trip will be a bonding and learning experience.   They will play better as it goes, and learn to play for each other and inspire themselves.   It doesn’t get any easier going to Portland next to play the team with the second best record in the Western Conference.

Coach Jacque Vaughn had some questionable substitution patterns tonight.  Andrew Nicholson played 4 minutes early in the game, had one turnover, then didn’t see the floor the rest of the game.  As I mentioned earlier, they just don’t seem to be having any fun right now.  There seems to be quite a bit of confusion on roles on this team.   Those roles seem to change on a nightly basis.  The starters have to be wondering about the roster, and if they’re going to be here.  They play sluggish, the game gets out of hand, then the young guys come in and play loose.  Going forward with this youthful team, Vaughn is going to need to get a rotation and set roles for them.  Let’s hope some of this gets worked out on this trip west.  I expect a much better effort.

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