By John Denton
March 10, 2013
ORLANDO – With Orlando having vanquished the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday for a second time in 13 days, the countdown to the Magic’s showdown against Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers can now begin in earnest.
Veteran guards Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo and Beno Udrih led a balanced attack that made all of the right plays at the key moments on Sunday night as the Magic whipped the Sixers 99-91 at the Amway Center.
Orlando (18-46) snapped a seven-game home losing streak and won at the Amway Center for the first time since Feb. 10. Playing well in from the Magic’s loyal fan base and establishing a winning mindset at the Amway Center has been a point of emphasis of late from coach Jacque Vaughn.
``I have made (winning at home) a point to our guys and I said it again at our shootaround (on Sunday afternoon),’’ Vaughn said. ``The fans have been unbelievable, staying until the end of games and cheering. It was good to give them a win. They deserve it. We appreciate the fact that they’re here and I have been stressing that to the guys.’’
Nelson, a native of suburban Philadelphia who was playing for the first time this season against the 76ers because of injuries, scored 24 points and handed out 10 assists. Not only did he hit five 3-pointers, but also for the first time in his nine-year career, he admitted that he carries somewhat of a grudge against the Sixers because of a sleight before the 2004 NBA Draft.
``Maybe it is a little extra motivation to do well,’’ said Nelson, the 20th pick of the 2004 NBA Draft of getting passed over by Philadelphia (it took Andre Iguodala ninth overall). ``I was told by some people in that organization that I wasn’t good enough when I came out (of college), so maybe I do have a little chip on my shoulder. But really I just try to help my team win.’’
Afflalo had 17 points and a game-sealing 3-pointer in the final minute that gave Orlando a seven-point cushion. And Udrih, who had 10 points and six assists, thrived all night in Orlando’s new-look three-guard offense.
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