By John Denton
February 1, 2013
J.J. Redick had 15 points, five assists and two 3-pointers, but he made just five of 15 shots. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando’s most consistent producer for weeks, had another solid game with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Rookie Andrew Nicholson, starting in place of Davis, played well on the offensive end of the floor and scored 14 points to go with his 10 rebounds. E’Twaun Moore, who played for the Celtics last season, played much of the second half in place of Nelson and had 14 points.
``It was a good opportunity to see a Hall of Famer as (Garnett). He had a few good moves on me, but I didn’t back down. So it was good to play against him,’’ Nicholson said. ``We just have to adapt right now to what we have. Coach (Vaughn) showed us a video before the game of using water as an example (from a Bruce Lee movie) and turning it into anything. You’ve just got to go out and make the best of any situation.’’ Nelson left Friday’s game with a bruised left forearm and couldn’t play in the second half. That means in the past four games, the Magic have lost three-fifths of a starting lineup that was once formidable and competitive in most every game.
``I took an elbow to the forearm and we’ll see how I feel tomorrow,’’ Nelson said. ``I shouldn’t have tried to do (the steal attempt on Pierce). I was just trying to make a basketball play and he just hit me. … The good thing is the X-rays were negative. I just let everybody to do what they do in terms of diagnosing everything and we’ll see where I stand (on Saturday).’’
The debilitating injuries are a big reason why Orlando has lost eight games in a row and 19 of 21 games. The Magic’s last victory came on Jan. 16 and it was an impressive thumping of the Indiana Pacers. But since then Orlando has fallen on hard times with bad breaks – bones and otherwise.
The Magic lost Nelson late in the second half when he attempted to knock the ball out of Paul Pierce’s hands only to jam his right wrist. Orlando was forced to call a timeout to get Nelson off the floor, and he did not return. At the time of his injury, Nelson was struggling through a poor shooting night by missing five of his six tries, The Magic once again didn’t have Afflalo, their leading scorer, because of a left calf strain and they were playing their first game in the past two weeks without Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis. The fiery power forward fractured his left foot and had surgery on Friday in Orlando. He is expected to miss eight-to-12 weeks and is likely out for the rest of the season.
The Magic’s five-game, nine-day road trip continues Saturday night in Milwaukee against the Bucks. It will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams. Orlando will be off on Super Bowl Sunday before playing in Philadelphia on Monday.
The Magic played their best basketball of the night in the early stages of the third quarter to briefly make a game of it. Three-pointers by Redick and E’Twaun Moore jump-started the offense and when Moore completed a three-point play, the Magic were within three points of the lead despite shooting just 34 percent from the floor at the time.
It wouldn’t last long, however, as Boston soon pushed the lead back to 23 points. Orlando finished the game with its four rookies and Ish Smith on the floor, and that group played hard to the end, forcing Boston into two timeouts.
As has so often been the case of late, the Magic were sound at the beginning of the game and came out shooting the ball exceptionally well. Orlando led 13-7 early on when Redick fed Vucevic for a layup. But from there, things began to fall apart as several of the Magic’s offensive possessions crumbled and they were beaten down the floor for dunks.
Boston led 46-35 at the half by shooting 48.8 percent, while holding the Magic to just 32.6 percent shooting. Clearly, Orlando was missing the firepower from Afflalo and Davis and struggled to get many open looks.
Nicholson shot the ball well early on and had eight points and six rebounds in the first half. Meanwhile, Vucevic notched his 25th double-double by the midpoint of the second period and finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds in the first half.
``It’s just tough right now,’’ Nelson said. ``You go through this during the course of the season and we have to keep fighting, stick together and stay positive.’’
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