Denton: Magic at Grizzlies Analysis (12/9/13)


Gamely fighting back late in the game for a second straight night, the Magic did get within 87-83 of the Grizzlies (10-10) with 2 minutes to play when veteran point guard Jameer Nelson had an acrobatic three-point play and Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis converted a tough put-back basket in traffic.

But Orlando would get no closer as Zach Randolph scored on the next two possessions to turn back the rally. Randolph, one of just two healthy starters for the Grizzlies, finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds

Power forward Andrew Nicholson scored 13 of his 19 points in the third quarter to get the Magic back to within striking distance in the second half. He added 11 rebounds and two 3-pointers.

``I was just trying to stay aggressive. Coach (Vaughn) called a couple of plays for me and the shots were going down,’’ said Nicholson, one of two Magic players to make more than half of their shots. ``We’re having a hard time (scoring) right now, but offense is fickle sometimes. One night it will be there and one night it won’t. So we have to rely on defense to be our constant now.’’

Nelson struggled through a poor shooting night, but still gave the Magic 19 points and five assists. Arron Afflalo, Orlando’s most efficient and consistent offensive player all season, struggled against the long-armed defense of Tayshaun Prince and scored 17 points on five of 16 shooting.

Davis, who left the game briefly in the second quarter with leg pain, added 16 points and nine rebounds. Davis, a team captain, was upbeat after the loss and talked of the Magic team needing to stay together and keep believing that they can get back on the winning track.

``We just have to keep preaching about staying together no matter what happens,’’ said Davis, who is still working his way back into form following a 10-month layoff from a fractured foot. ``It’s a long season. Good thing these bumps are coming early in terms of tough losses and guys being injured. If we can just get everybody healthy and learning, we’ll be fine. The more guys stay together, the better we can overcome these obstacles.’’


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