Tested to the Max

With Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis still out rehabilitating his surgically repaired left foot, Jason Maxiell has been pressed into duty as the Magic’s starter at power forward. Maxiell was signed to a free-agent contract by the Magic over the summer after starting 71 games last season with the Pistons and averaging career-bests across the board.

Maxiell, 30, certainly didn’t get a chance to ease into the regular season what with him having to face Indiana’s David West on Tuesday night and having a showdown on Wednesday against standout power forward Kevin Love in Minnesota.

Maxiell is somewhat of a marvel as an eight-year NBA veteran in that he’s thrived as an elite defender while only being 6-foot-7. He is able to overcome his lack of height by combining great strength and better-than-average mobility. He is also a student of the game, having picked up some deft defensive tricks from former teammates Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Dale Davis.

``I’m nine years in and to make a name for myself around this league, that’s hard to do at 6-5 or I’ll give myself 6-7, but that’s a great accomplishment,’’ Maxiell said. ``Against (taller) guys you’ve got to hit them before they hit you. That’s what I will tell Kyle (O’Quinn) and (Nikola Vucevic) to beat him up early. You might get one foul, but at least you are going to set the tone early and let them know it’s going to be a long night.’’

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