Denton: Nelson a Game-Time Decision Tonight


By John Denton
November 13, 2012

ORLANDO -- Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson said there were no ill effects from Monday’s practice and his availability for tonight against the New York Knicks will be decided by team doctors just before game time.

Nelson, who has missed the past five games because of a strained groin/hamstring combination, practiced on Monday for the first time since suffering the injury in the Nov. 2 season-opener against the Denver Nuggets. Nelson even worked against Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn during some stretches of practice as the starters were given the day off.

Nelson liked the progress that he’s made with his leg and hopes he can play tonight for the Magic (2-4) against the Knicks (4-0).

``It’s getting better every day,’’ Nelson said after the morning shoot-around. ``I’m a G.T.D (game-time decision). … I didn’t feel anything getting worse or anything bothering me today, but I still have some work to do and we’ll see how I feel tonight. I’ll put it (the doctors’ hands) and let them makes the decision.’’

The Magic are riding a four-game losing streak since starting the season with stirring home wins against Denver and Phoenix. The Knicks are second in the league in scoring (104.5 ppg.) and are the NBA’s only undefeated team.

Vaughn knows the Magic will have to play well defensively to try and slow down Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks. The Magic’s rookie coach is hoping the team can build on some strong defensive play from Sunday’s game in Brooklyn.

``Defensively it makes you tune in to the challenge that you have tonight,’’ Vaughn said. ``We’re about getting better and we’re going to try to build on the last three quarters of basketball that we played and see if we can make a difference tonight. ``Habits can (carry over from game to game), and we created some good habits in those last three quarters in Brooklyn,’’ Vaughn continued. ``We’ll try to focus on the good that we did and eliminate the bad things.’’

One key matchup to watch will be Orlando’s Arron Afflalo against New York’s Anthony. Afflalo (6-5, 215 pounds) will shift to small forward so that J.J. Redick can start at the shooting guard and that means he will be matched up against Anthony (6-8, 230 pounds). Anthony and Afflalo played together in Denver for two seasons before Anthony forced a trade to the Knicks. Anthony leads the NBA in scoring at 27.3 points a game, while Afflalo leads the Magic in scoring at 16.7 points a night.

``I’m looking more forward to hopefully beating this team. They are obviously off to a very hot start and ‘Melo is a key component to their success,’’ Afflalo said. ``I haven’t watched too many of (New York’s) games, but a 4-0 start is great. At this point in (Anthony’s) career, I know that he’s about winning. He’s still a very good one-on-one player, but he’s all about winning at this point. He’s doing the necessary things to get his team off to a good start.’’

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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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