By John Denton
October 15, 2012
CINCINNATI – Scrolling down the stat sheet after a game last week, Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn chided himself for playing shooting guard J.J. Redick a team-high 29 minutes in a preseason game.
But then Vaughn offered up an explanation for his mistake, saying: ``J.J. is just so good in our offense and does so many things that it’s hard to take him off the floor.’’ Despite not starting Monday night as Vaughn tinkered with his rotations, Redick came off the bench and carried the Magic offense for long stretches with both his shooting and play-making skills. The 18-point, eight-assist and four-3-pointer effort by Redick was yet another example of why the Magic and Vaughn like having Redick on the floor so much.
Redick played another 30 minutes on Monday night and there was no apologizing for it after the way he helped the Magic get back into the game after trailing by as much as 14 points. Redick and the Orlando starters were pulled from the game at the end of regulation, and Orlando ultimately fell 114-111 to the Cleveland Cavaliers in overtime. ``Glen (Davis) and I developed a nice chemistry last year in the two-man game running the pick and roll and we’ve carried it over to this season,’’ Redick said. ``That (Game 4 rally) against Indiana was kind of the catapulting of that two-man game for us. … I’m a guy that I hope others at least like to play with because I move the ball. I might shoot some, but the ball is either going up or I’m passing it for a scoring opportunity for guys. It allows guys to play off of me.’’
The Magic (0-3) still remain in search of their first win under Vaughn, their rookie coach, but the outcome of Monday’s game at Cincinnati’s US Bank Arena could have been much different had Orlando continue to play Redick and Davis down the stretch. Vaughn said there was zero temptation to put the starters back into the game in the extra period. He was unhappy with his team’s defense much of the night and the lack of attacking in the first half, but he was pleased with the grit at the end of regulation. Redick was at the top of that list.
``J.J. was great and he really sparked the unit with his movement,’’ Vaughn said. ``We were able to move the ball a little bit in the second half and get some open shots. It was entirely different in the second half in a positive way.’’
The game might have been of the meaningless preseason variety on a sleepy Monday night in a half-full arena, but Redick attacked with the intensity of a playoff game. When he flung a no-look pass to Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis late in the fourth quarter for a basket that put the Magic ahead, Redick danced toward the Orlando bench while pumping his fist.
Davis was the recipient of many of Redick’s passing and played well for a third consecutive preseason game. The veteran power forward, almost certain to be a starter this season for the first time in his career, had 27 points and eight rebounds for the Magic. Davis played 34 minutes and hit nine of 17 shots and nine of 13 free throws.
``Me and J.J. played together and we just feed off each other,’’ Davis said. ``We need each other as far as me getting him open (with screens) and then him finding avenues to find me when I roll to the basket. We’ve got it down to a science and we’re just going to keep doing it the whole year.’’
Reserve point guard E’Twaun Moore had 15 points, including a flurry of baskets during a 19-6 run that allowed the Magic take the lead late in the fourth quarter. With the Magic leading by one in the final seconds, Davis made a spinning fade-away shot that gave the Magic a three-point bulge with 7.9 seconds to play.
The Magic might have had their first victory of the preseason if not for an error by rookie power forward Andrew Nicholson, who had 14 points in the defeat. He bumped Jeremy Pargo on a layup attempt with 4,1 seconds remaining, allowing the Cavs (3-2) to tie the game and force overtime.
``Andrew is smart enough to learn from it and he’ll be in the game again at the end and hopefully next time he won’t do the same thing,’’ Vaughn said. ``That’s what this time is about for him. He’ll learn time and situation and the score and what he can and cannot do at the end of a game.’’
The Magic will be back in action Tuesday night when they face the Detroit Pistons at 7:30 p.m. in Auburn Hills, Mich. The game will not be televised in Central Florida.
Vaughn is expected to rest veterans Hedo Turkoglu (five points and six assists on Monday), Jameer Nelson (eight points and four assists), Redick and Davis on Tuesday.
Cincinnati native and NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson was in attendance among the crowd of 5,219 at US Bank Arena. The Magic were once again without likely starting shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who did not make the trip as he continues to rehabilitate a strained left hamstring.
Vaughn has changed his starting lineup each of the Magic’s three preseason games and plans to do so again Tuesday in Detroit as he mixes and matches combinations. Vaughn has been impressed with the hustle and athleticism of DeQuan Jones and he rewarded the rookie with a start at shooting guard Monday night. Veterans Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis and Nikola Vucevic also started alongside of Jones.
Jones, a University of Miami product, finished with seven points, nine rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes.
``It was tremendous and my teammates were really supportive,’’ Jones said. ``I just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and have fun. I still feel like there are a couple of things I need to work on defensively while I’m getting acclimated the NBA’s 3-second rule. But I do feel like I can get a lot better defensively.’’
The Magic started well, but were sloppy for long stretches of the first half. Orlando shot just 42.6 percent in the first two periods and had eight turnovers as Cleveland led 53-46 at the break.
``At halftime we had only attempted five free throws and they had attempted 19, so the aggressiveness was in their favor by that stat alone,’’ Vaughn said.
The backup point guard position, a troublesome area the past few years for the franchise, continued to be an area of concern Monday night. Moore, signed away from Boston to backup Jameer Nelson, committed four fouls and turned the ball over twice in the first half alone. And he had no answers for Irving, who had 18 points and seven free throw attempts in the first 24 minutes.
Vucevic got his second consecutive start at center and once again had a stellar first half. He made four of his first seven shots, most of them coming on face-up jump shots over Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao. Vucevic, the 7-footer acquired from Philadelphia in August, had 10 points in the first half.
John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997. E-mail John at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @JohnDenton555.
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