Denton: Magic vs. Jazz Analysis (12/18/13)


In his fourth game back following an eight-week absence following a high ankle sprain, Tobias Harris had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Center Nikola Vucevic struggled through a dismal shooting night (five of 18), but he also had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

E’Twaun Moore played well off the bench and scored 10 points. He opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, hit another triple three minutes later and had a pull-up that gave Orlando a 76-69 lead with 8 minutes to play. However, a streaky Utah team scored the next nine points to re-take a lead it wouldn’t lose.

Wednesday’s game was the first of a six-game home stand for Orlando. The Magic will host Sacramento (Saturday), New York (Monday), Detroit (Dec. 27), Atlanta (Dec. 29) and Golden State (Dec. 31) on a home stand that will take them to the end of 2013.

Prior to Wednesday Afflalo was the only Orlando player to start the first 25 games of the season. The veteran guard is in the midst of a career year while averaging 21.6 points per game. He scored a career-best 43 points in a game, hit the 30-point plateau four times and topped 20 points 13 times.

Said Nelson: ``Whenever you’re missing your leading scorer, guys have to step up and I thought guys did that in terms of playing through mistakes and playing together. You’re down 22 points (Afflalo’s scoring average) without him and it’s tough.’’

With Afflalo out, Harris made his first start since the end of last season when he was a standout scorer for the Magic. He averaged 17.3 points and 9.5 rebounds over the final 27 games of last season, greatly raising expectations for this season.


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