Denton: Magic Expect Tonight's Game to be Physical


By John Denton
November 6, 2012

CHICAGO – Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn expects that his team will get a major test tonight when it will try to match the physicality of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

In Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson and Luol Deng, the Bulls (2-1) feature a rugged frontline that is among the best in the NBA at rebounding the ball. The Magic (2-0) the struggled in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns with their interior defense, but picked it up in the second half to pull away for a 115-94 victory.

``We know that it’s going to be a physical game,’’ Vaughn said of the matchup against the Bulls. ``The big thing within the rebounding realm is the physicality that they play with. It will be a good challenge for us and we’ll how to show that we can match their physicality. In the second half (on Sunday), we became the aggressors. Now, can we start the game out hitting first and being the aggressors?’’

Further complicating matters for the Magic is the fact that the team will once again be without point guard and captain Jameer Nelson. Nelson strained his hamstring in Friday’s opening win against the Denver Nuggets and missed Sunday’s victory. Nelson said his leg is making progress, but he likely won’t play on Wednesday against Minnesota either.

``I’m making progress, just getting treatment and drinking lots and lots of water,’’ Nelson said. ``I don’t want to set a timetable (on a return), but I’m just going to continue to treat it, be smart about it and listen to the training staff.’’

E’Twuan Moore, signed as a free agent over the summer from Boston, will make his second start at point guard for the Magic. He’s averaging 14 points, 4.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds so far after 13 and 15-point performances. All three double-figure scoring games in his two-year NBA career have come in Orlando’s Amway Center, so it will be interesting to see if he can duplicate it tonight in Chicago.

Shooting guard Arron Afflalo said he’s interested to see how a young Magic team will react to playing its first road game against a physical team like the Bulls. Afflalo keyed the Magic’s second half rally against the Suns on Sunday with eight consecutive points. He scored 22 points and hit three 3-pointers in the victory.

``This is a Chicago team that plays with a lot of energy, they are very disciplined and well-coached,’’ Afflalo said. ``It will be a great first road test for us to see where we stand. Hopefully we can sustain the level of play that we need to win the game.’’

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997. E-mail John at jdenton@orlandomagic.com or follow him on Twitter at @JohnDenton555.

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