By John Denton
January 14, 2013
``I felt alright and whatever coach wants me to do right now, I’m going to do it,’’ Davis said. ``It’s always good to get confidence especially when you come off an injury. I told myself that there was no need to go out there and hold your shoulder or nurture it out there. I’m out here to play and not to play with just one hand.’’
Two days after tying a season-best with 30 points against the Los Angeles Clippers, Arron Afflalo struggled with his shot throughout the game and scored only two points in 37 minutes. He missed all six of his shots in the first half and didn’t score until he finally converted a layup with 4:40 left in the third quarter. He finished 1 of 11 from the floor after making 10 of 19 shots in L.A. on Saturday.
Six Washington players reached double figures, led by Emeka Okafor’s 19 points. Point guard John Wall, back from a knee injury, played a second straight game off the bench and had 12 points and six assists for a Washington team that made 56.1 percent of its shots.
Their four-game, nine-day road trip complete, the Magic will be off on Tuesday before starting a three-game home stand. Orlando will host Indiana (Wednesday), Charlotte (Friday) and Dallas (Sunday).
``It’s going to feel good to get home and play on our home floor, for sure,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said.
Davis moved and shot the ball exceptionally well throughout, making six of his eight shots. In addition to drilling three jumpers, Davis didn’t shy away from contact by repeatedly driving into lane for difficult baskets in traffic. Davis took a hard hit when he was whacked across the arms by Washington’s Kevin Seraphin in the third quarter, but he never flinched and drilled one of the two free throws following the foul call.
``It was good to see (Davis) pout on the court and I wish it was more of a lift for us,’’ Redick said of the fiery power forward. ``I wish it would have given us some energy, but it didn’t But having him back and going forward with him in the lineup makes us a better team.’’
Davis didn’t return to his usual starting spot, but he was the Magic’s first substitute in the game with 5:35 left in the first quarter. And it didn’t take him long to make an impact as he drilled a 19-foot jumper on his first try in a game in three-plus weeks. He made three of his first four shots, converting a spinning shot in the lane and a hard drive past Okafor in his 5 minutes of action in the first quarter. In 11 first-half minutes, Davis made four of six shots, scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds.
If not for a dazzling flurry late in the second quarter, the Magic might have limped to the locker room Monday night with their worst first half of the season. Trailed 59-40 late in the second quarter, Orlando unleashed a 13-0 spurt to get within 59-53 at intermission.
The run started with a Redick 3-pointer and then kept rolling with two more threes from Nelson and a layup. Then, Nelson made the play of the first half for the Magic by diving on the floor to steal an inbounds pass from Emeka Okafor. He got up and shoveled the ball to Josh McRoberts for a dunk with two-tenths of a second left that sent the Magic to the locker room with loads of momentum.
For most of the half, Orlando got outplayed on both ends of the floor and trailed by as much as 19 points. Even with the return of Davis, the Magic’s interior defense continued to be a problem as the Wizards pounded the Magic for 30 points in the paint in the first half. And 19 of Washington’s points in the first half came on the fastbreak.
Washington carved up the Magic defense to the tune of 53.8 shooting in the first half. But Nelson (14 points and nine assists) and Redick (10 points) got hot late in the first half and did their best to keep the Magic within striking distance heading into the second half.
``The good thing about the NBA is hopefully we can put this game behind us, go home and get some rest. Washington played well and jumped on us from the beginning,’’ Vaughn said. ``Jameer tried to lead us into a push and we got it to six going into half. It’s just that some nights in the NBA you’re not going to have it. The good thing is we have a good group in there and they’ll be looking forward to playing Indiana (on Wednesday).’’
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