Denton's Notebook: April 16, 2012

By John Denton
April 16, 2012

ORLANDO – Orlando Magic power forward Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis said for once in his life his burly, 6-foot-9, 289-pound frame might have helped keep from getting seriously injured.

``Luckily, I’ve got big bones,’’ said Davis, after a MRI revealed no structural damage in the right knee that he sprained in the first quarter of the Magic’s 100-84 win against Cleveland on Sunday night.

Davis landed awkwardly on his right knee following a layup attempt. When he hyper-extended his knee, Davis immediately went to the floor clutching at his leg as if he had suffered major damage. Tests on Monday revealed no structural damage, giving Davis hope that he can be back on the floor by Wednesday night’s game in Boston.

``I was really relieved. It’s a blessing that nothing bad happened,’’ Davis said. ``We’ll see how I feel (on Tuesday), but (playing against the Celtics on Wednesday) is what I’m shooting for.’’

Davis’ injury seven minutes into Sunday’s game ended a streak of seven consecutive games of scoring in double figures. His vastly improved play of late – he averaged 18.7 points and 11.4 rebounds over a seven-game stretch – somewhat softened the blow of losing all-star center Dwight Howard for the Magic.

``It feels good that I’m finally playing better now and I’m just trying to get my knee right and keep it going,’’ Davis said. ``I’m getting that opportunity and I’m trying to make the most of it.’’

ORTON GETS FIRST START: Some 90 minutes before tipoff Monday night, Magic center Daniel Orton had to think long and hard about when he last started a basketball game.

There were the two games in the Developmental League last year for Albuquerque Firebirds where Orton started, but he doesn’t really count those because he tore cartilage in his knee in one game and limped through the second one.

Orton didn’t start a game during his one season at Kentucky, playing behind talented but mercurial center DeMarcus Cousins. He actually missed most of his senior year of high school after tearing a ligament in his knee a few months before the season was to start. He returned by the playoffs, leading his Oklahoma high school to a state runner-up finish.

Orton came through on Sunday night in the most meaningful minutes of his NBA career. Orton had 11 points, five steals, four rebounds and three blocked shots in a career-high 29 minutes. Afterward, he said he received about 20 text messages and five calls from friends and family.

``I didn’t see the steals coming at all. That’s never been me,’’ Orton said. ``But I would say that I’ve always had good, quick hands.’’

ETC: By qualifying for the playoffs with Sunday’s win, the Magic earned a postseason berth for a sixth consecutive season. That streak ranks fifth in the NBA, but the Magic could climb to third if Dallas (11 straight berths) and Denver (eight consecutive berths) miss the playoffs. San Antonio (in the playoffs 15 straight years) and the Los Angeles Lakers (seven straight playoff appearances) are ahead of the Magic. … Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said that J.J. Redick also underwent a MRI on his ailing foot on Monday and the test was negative for stress fractures or ligament damage. Redick started his sixth straight game Monday night at shooting guard. … Van Gundy said the Magic have tried to turn the focus away from franchise center Dwight Howard and small forward Hedo Turkoglu being injured and have instead turned their attention the squad that they have. Said Van Gundy: ``Our approach is this is our team, the 13 guys that we have without Hedo and Dwight. If we get one or both of them back (before the playoffs) that’s a bonus. We need to keep our focus on playing well enough each night to win. That’s a better mentality than just trying to hold down the fort until Dwight comes back because there really are no guarantees there with him.’’ … Magic veteran small forward Quentin Richardson said trainers were able to retrieve the game ball from Sunday’s win so that he could get it engraved. Richardson, a 12-year NBA veteran, scored his 8,000th point on a layup in the second quarter. … The Magic play in Boston on Wednesday in an 8 p.m. game that will be nationally televised by ESPN. After that, Orlando plays at Utah (Saturday) and Denver (Sunday).

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997 and recently authored ``All You Can Be’’ with Magic center Dwight Howard. E-mail John at jd41898@aol.com

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