By John Denton
December 23, 2012
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic had chances to tie Sunday’s game when Gustavo Ayon had two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining and when J.J. Redick might or might not have been fouled on a 3-pointer that could have been a four-point play.
But when their 97-93 loss to the Utah Jazz was complete Sunday night, the Magic knew deep down who the real culprits were for the frustrating defeat before 17,721 fans at the Amway Center.
All they had to do was look in the mirror.
``I think it’s pretty simple – you outrebound the (other) team, you shoot 50 percent from the field and make nine threes, but you have 20 turnovers for 22 points,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. ``The game is really that simple.’’
Much like in Friday’s 93-90 loss in Toronto, the Magic (12-15) were their own worst enemy against the Jazz (15-14). Orlando zipped to a 16-point lead in the second quarter, but frittered away the advantage as the turnovers piled up. Redick, the Magic’s best playmaker all season, uncharacteristically had a career-high seven turnovers when passes routinely bounced off teammates’ hands. Jameer Nelson had four turnovers and Arron Afflalo committed three more.
Redick didn’t want to talk about getting hit by Utah’s Randy Foye on the deep 3-pointer that he drilled with 11.5 seconds remaining because he was so disgusted by the turnovers.
``We should have won the game,’’ Redick said brusquely. ``You can’t expect to get a call at any point; that’s not how you play. But we shouldn’t have been in that position.’’
Despite all of the errors, Orlando still had a shot to tie with 2.4 seconds left when Vaughn’s play design worked perfectly and Nelson found Ayon all alone under the rim.
He was fouled on the play and stepped to the line as a 61.2 percent free throw shooter. Ayon narrowly missed the first and intentionally misfired on the second, leaving the Magic wondering what could have been.
``At the end I had the chance to tie the game, but I wasn’t able to do it. We just have to keep working,’’ the Mexican-born Ayon said through an interpreter.
Afflalo scored 13 points in the first quarter, and finished with 20. Blossoming center Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Ayon chipped in nine points and 12 boards. Nelson had 14 points and nine assists, while Redick scored 14 points, handed out five assists and nailed two 3-pointers.
The Magic were playing their second game without standout power forward Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis, who severely sprained his left shoulder late in Wednesday’s win against Washington. Davis attended the team’s morning shootaround and the game, but did not sit on the bench for fear of having a player crash into his shoulder. He figures to be out at least four weeks.
``I have my own timetable and it’s when Glen feels good enough to play,’’ Davis said. ``I might have Superman powers and come back next week, or two weeks, three weeks, four weeks or a month. It just depends on how I feel and that’s all that matters. The doctors diagnosed it and it is what it is. I’m just glad it’s not worse.’’
Orlando started converted center Ayon at power forward Sunday night because of the matchup against Utah’s Paul Millsap (18 points and seven rebounds). Andrew Nicholson started on Friday in Toronto (along with Maurice Harkless), giving the Magic two rookies in the starting lineup for the first time since April of 2005 (with Dwight Howard and Nelson).
Vucevic, who limited Al Jefferson to 12 points after he dropped 31 on the Magic earlier in the month in Utah, said the Magic continue to adjust to life without Davis in the lineup.
``Obviously we miss him, he’s a very good player and he’s been playing at a high level, but he’s injured and we have to figure out a way to win games without him,’’ said Vucevic, who has six straight games with at least 11 rebounds. ``Down the stretch, (Ayon) was good when he was playing. But we’ll figure this out when we come back to practice and get better.’’
The Magic will have a light practice on Monday morning and then take the rest of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. They host the New Orleans Hornets and former Orlando power forward Ryan Anderson on Wednesday night at the Amway Center. Anderson won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award last season while leading the league in 3-pointers made.
The Magic led 87-85 with 3:31 to play, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Jamaal Tinsley and Randy Foye (off an Afflalo turnover) put them in a 91-87 hole. From there, Nelson had a 3-pointer, but a Redick turnover and misses by Ayon and Afflalo (twice) doomed the comeback attempt.
``Just like last game – too many turnovers,’’ Nelson said. ``When you shoot the way that we shoot and you turn the ball over the way we are, you are taking shots out of guys hands. We’re all doing it; it’s not one guy and it’s not one quarter; it’s every quarter. It’s too many and we have to value the ball more.’’
Redick was whistled for a technical foul midway through the fourth quarter when he angrily showed referee John Goble how his shirttail had been pulled out of his pants by Utah’s Alec Burks. After being whistled, Redick hiked his shorts up higher in anger.
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