By John Denton
ORLANDO -- When they were down and frustrated Wednesday night in Minnesota over losing an infinitely winnable game, Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn reassured his team that some true progress was being made and soon the victories would follow.
Vaughn knows that this isn’t the same green Magic squad that struggled to 20 wins last season, and his confident players are aware of that as well. Not after a summer in which almost the entire team worked tirelessly to better their games. Not after veterans Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo assumed control of the leadership of the team and have played especially well so far. And not after the Magic added electric rookie Victor Oladipo, who has breathed life into the team with his relentless hustle.
Orlando showed off its tremendous progress in Friday night’s home-opener with a thorough, all-around thumping of the revamped New Orleans Pelicans to the tune of 110-90 at the sold-out Amway Center.
``Our guys grew a lot near the end of last season and over the summer and the expectations to win now are rising,’’ said Afflalo, who made 10 of 14 shots and scored 30 points. ``All of our guys responded well tonight.’’
Follow John Denton on Twitter here