Notebook: Magic 98, Suns 90

Posted Dec 9, 2012 11:29 PM

By Mike Tulumello, for

THE FACTS: The Orlando Magic's first long road trip is a winner.

The Magic (8-12) whipped the short-handed Phoenix Suns, 98-90 Sunday night to wrap up a 3-2 trip. The loss was the Suns' seventh straight.

The trip's results are "very important, especially for us," J.J. Redick, who scored a game-high 20, said of the rebuilding Magic. "For us to come away with a winning record is a big step forward for us."

The Magic got a huge boost from Andrew Nicholson, the rookie big forward from St. Bonaventure. Nicholson, the No. 19 pick in the most recent draft (who was passed up by the Suns, among others) had a career-high 19 points on 9-for-11 shooting.

The Magic outshot the Suns 52-46 percent and outrebounded them 44-29.

The Suns (7-15) were missing P.J. Tucker, their most effective small forward this season (out with a knee injury), and leading scorer Goran Dragic (illness).

They were led by Shannon Brown's 17 points, though Brown shot only 6-for-16. Jared Dudley had 15 points, four assists and just one turnover in 38 minutes.

"We are playing spot basketball," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "We play good for two minutes, then we're bad for seven. Then we're good for five, and we're bad for three."

QUOTABLE: "Drew is a great offensive player. He's got a bright future. He's still learning the game. Offensively, he can get it done right now."
-- Redick on Nicholson.

THE STAT: The Magic's bench outscored the Suns' reserves, 49-30.

TURNING POINT: Down 67-61 with 4:00 left in the third quarter, the Magic went on a 21-10 run that run that stretched into the fourth quarter and gave the Magic an 82-77 lead, one they never gave up.

QUOTABLE II: "We can't allow layups...when we're trying to come back. Time after time after time. It doesn't work out."
-- Gentry.

HOT: Redick scored 10 quick points early in the second quarter on only two scored field goal attempts. Playing against the Suns' reserves, the Magic, down 29-22, took off on a 21-7 powered by Redick's shooting. He hit a 29-footer, then a 26-footer on which he was fouled by Wesley Johnson. The unusual 4-point play gave Redick seven points on two shots within 33 seconds. Moments later, Johnson again fouled Redick on a 3-pointer, and the Magic guard nailed all three free throws.

NOT: Sebastian Telfair, starting in place of Dragic, shot 1-for-7. "He gives you everything he's got," Gentry said of Telfair. "We need 12 guys like that, not four or five. Sometimes, he doesn't make shots. I don't have a problem with that."

ROOKIE WATCH: In addition to Nicholson, the Magic's Maurice Harkless had four points on 2-for-2 shooting in seven minutes.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Michael Beasley's irrelevance continues. After losing his starting spot, owing to 37 percent shooting (27 percent on 3-pointers), the Suns' forward had one of his best games in his first stint off the bench Saturday at the Clippers (21 points in 30 minutes). But in his second game as a reserve, with the Suns short on players, he came up empty: He shot 0-for-2 for three points and one rebound in 15 minutes.

NOTABLE: The Suns' seven-game skid is the franchise's longest since February, 2004.

UP NEXT: For the Magic, Wednesday vs. Hawks, Friday vs. Warriors and Saturday @ Charlotte. For the Suns, Wednesday vs. Grizzlies, Friday vs. Jazz and Monday vs. Kings.