Denton: Magic Looking to Reestablish Home Court Supremacy

By John Denton
January 18, 2013

ORLANDO – Riding the momentum of arguably their best start-to-finish performance of the season, the Orlando Magic now hope to reestablish some supremacy at the Amway Center.

In the midst of a three-game home stand, the Magic (14-24) throttled the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday and will be hoping to do the same against the Charlotte Bobcats (9-29) tonight at 7 p.m. The three-game spree at the Amway Center comes to a close on Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks.

Orlando owns impressive home victories this season against Denver, Golden State, Minnesota and Indiana, but it has an 8-12 mark at the Amway Center. In their defense, a lot of the losses have come against elite teams such as Miami, San Antonio, Boston, Chicago, New York (twice), Brooklyn (twice) and Atlanta.

Now, with three games in a row at home, is the time to get back to establishing an identity at the Amway Center, Magic guard J.J. Redick said.

``We haven’t done a great job of playing well at home and we’ve lost a number of games here,’’ Redick said. ``So we need to establish ourselves at home. At home it’s always important to get off to good starts, get the crowd into it and establish a good atmosphere.’’

The Amway Center looked to be home sweet home to the Magic on Wednesday when they drilled 12 3-pointers and got some stellar inside play from Nikola Vucevic and Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis is a 97-86 defeat of Indiana. The Magic used a 32-8 run in the guts of the game to take control and they eventually pushed their lead to as high as 22 points before coasting to the victory.

That win came four days after the Magic rallied in the fourth quarter to toppled the surging Clippers in Los Angeles. In between, however, the Magic lost by 29 points in Washington in a game where the road-weary team clearly lacked energy. Magic guard Arron Afflalo said the team has to do a better job of being more consistent from night to night.

``It’s just about our focus,’’ Afflalo said. ``We had no reason to be unfocused or undisciplined against Washington and we just came out flat. A large part of that was my fault, but it was good that we bounced back (on Wednesday) and took care of our home court. We just have to keep moving forward.’’

Davis is hoping that the minutes restriction on him will be lifted tonight after proving the past two games that his left shoulder is sound. Davis severely sprained his left shoulder on Dec. 19 and missed the next three-plus weeks – a time when Orlando lost 10 consecutive games. He played 17 minutes on Monday in Washington and 25 minutes in Wednesday’s win, shooting the ball well in the first game and playing with great energy against the Pacers.

``Being back home and playing in front of our fan base is very important to us, but having Glen back is a big stabilizer for us,’’ Afflalo said. ``Especially in the fourth quarter, he’s a huge presence for us down low. We’re just happy to have him back.’’

Vucevic has enjoyed his best stretch in a Magic uniform of late, notching double-doubles in scoring and rebounding in each of the past eight games. In January he has averaged 15 points and 14.3 rebounds a game. If he can keep that up, he’ll be just the fifth player since the 1986-87 season to average 15 ppg. and 14 rpg. in a January. The others: Kevin Garnett (2003-04), Dwight Howard (2008-09, 2010-11 and 2011-12), Zach Randolph (2010-11) and Kevin Love (2010-11).

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