Denton: Offense Thriving in Wins, Deficient in Losses

By John Denton
November 23, 2012

ORLANDO – Here’s a Thanksgiving leftover that the Orlando Magic are chewing on today as they prepare to face the Cleveland Cavaliers: In the Magic’s four wins they are averaging 104 points a game, but in their seven losses they are scoring just 79 points a night.

Clearly, as the Magic’s offense goes, so goes the team’s success. And that’s why the Magic are looking to push the pace when they face the Cavs (3-8) tonight at 7 p.m. at the Amway Center.

Orlando is 3-0 this season when scoring at least 100 points. Not surprisingly, the Magic are 0-4 when scoring on 75 or fewer points. So they want to probe for easy baskets, push the pace when possible and be extremely efficient in the half-court sets.

``It’s about the pace of the game with us and the pace of the game has to be better,’’ Magic point guard Jameer Nelson said. ``Some of that’s on me and some of it’s on us as a group. We’re being indecisive at times. But we’re getting better. We just have to get though those quarters and stretches where we’re not looking for easy baskets.’’

The Magic loaded up on easy baskets in the third quarter of Wednesday’s 90-74 rout of the Detroit Pistons. The Magic scored the first 21 points of the third quarter and held the Pistons 10 minutes, 1 second without a field goal. Not only did the Magic play nearly flawless basketball on the offensive end, but they forced Detroit into 15 straight misses and five turnovers.

Magic power forward Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis said that while he’ll always be a big proponent of defense, he is well aware that it’s the Magic’s offense that often dictates the team’s success.

``Our offense is kind of the way that we set the tone with our pace and sharing the ball. Also, when guys are hitting shots it makes a big difference,’’ Davis said. ``We have to play together. … When we’re moving the ball and sharing the ball, the outcome is a lot better.’’

The Magic will be attempting to win consecutive games for the first time since opening the season with stirring home victories against Denver and Phoenix. Orlando will be facing a Cleveland team without standout point guard Kyrie Irving, who is out with a broken finger.

The Magic expect to continue to relying heavily on their young post player, Andrew Nicholson. The rookie power forward had a team-high 15 points on Wednesday night and has impressed coaches and teammates with his patience down low against more experienced players.

``He’s continuing to get better every day and it really is that simple,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. ``He’s putting in extra work, he’s paying attention in video and he’s doing the things that we’re asking him to do.

``As much as I love Andrew, I don’t think I have to worry about Andrew being too fast,’’ continued Vaughn, referring to the rookie’s calmness in the post. ``He’s got the right gear for him and he’s patient. I feel comfortable throwing him the basketball and his teammates are getting to the point of doing that. He’s gained their trust and a lot of times rookies don’t do that. So that’s a good sign.’’

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