By John Denton
January 22, 2013
``It was just a tough night. I apologize that I can’t elaborate any further, but it was just a tough night,’’ Afflalo said.
Redick was the lone bright spot for the Magic, making nine of 10 shots and scoring 26 points in his first start in weeks. He drilled his first seven shots and made five straight 3-pointers before his first miss. But Redick couldn’t enjoy the stellar night because of a second half in which the Magic were outscored 51-38.
``I am surprised in a way (by the lopsided nature of the loss),’’ Redick said. ``But we should have had a lead at halftime as well as we played offensively. But we just had a lot of breakdowns defensively. I don’t think it’s that we’re not in the right place or don’t understand the schemes; we just have to do everything harder.’’
Davis had 11 points, but the night was another tough one for him. He missed six of his first seven tries and finished just four of 16 from the field. His frustration level boiled over in the third quarter when he argued a no-call with veteran referee Danny Crawford and was whistled for a technical foul. It’s his fifth game back after severely spraining his shoulder on Dec. 19. He brushed off the rust factor on Tuesday and was more upset that he lost his cool at the refs.
``Coach didn’t put me back in the game. I wasn’t playing well and he did what he thought was best fit,’’ Davis said. ``(Not getting back into the game until late) kind of messed my confidence up a little bit and I wish he would have stuck with me. But he did what he thought was best for the team.’’
Magic center Nikola Vucevic had 10 points and nine rebounds, but he struggled defensively inside against Greg Monroe (16 points) and Jason Maxiell (11 points and 11 rebounds). Detroit (16-25) also got 18 points from Brandon Knight and reserves Will Bynum (15 points), Rodney Stuckey (14 points) and Andre Drummond (11 points and 11 rebounds) also hurt the Magic.
Orlando veteran point guard Jameer Nelson chipped in 14 points and nine assists. The Magic are back at the Amway Center on Thursday night when they will face Toronto. The Raptors are 3-0 against the Magic this season, winning twice in Toronto and once in Orlando.
``First of all, you have to take ownership. And to take ownership you have to play harder,’’ Redick said. ``We have to hold each other accountable to that. We’ll discuss it more. As a group we just need to play harder, and that’s mainly on the defensive end. We’ve harped on it for a few weeks and we keep having issues on that end. It’s not the schemes; it’s doing everything harder and trusting one another.’’
Down two points at the half, the Magic fell into a much deeper hole in the third quarter because of an inability to slow down Detroit’s frontline and some sloppy ball-handling. Monroe repeatedly got to the rim and scored 10 points in the third quarter as Detroit outscored the Magic 28-14 in the period. That put the Magic behind 82-66 heading into the fourth quarter.
Davis’ frustration from a poor shooting night boiled over in the third period when he reacted angrily at veteran referee Danny Crawford and was whistled for a technical foul. At the time, Davis had missed 12 of his 16 shot attempts.
``I’ve just got to play better. No matter how things look or what coach does, I just have to play better, point blank,’’ Davis said. ``There are no (shoulder) excuses.’’
Orlando trailed 54-52 at the intermission following a controversial finish to the first half. Nelson, who had 10 points and four assists in the first 24 minutes, was hit by Brandon Knight as he attempted a 3-pointer, resulting in a turnover that Detroit converted into a breakaway dunk in the final seconds of the first half.
Vaughn inserted Redick into the starting lineup and the move paid massive dividends right away. Redick made his first four shots, including two 3-pointers, as the Magic raced to a 22-11 lead in the opening minutes of the game. Redick made all six of his shots in the first half, including four 3-pointers, for 17 first-half points. He had a four-point play late in the half and added three assists to account for 23 of Orlando’s 52 points in the first half.
But the fast start would be short-lived as Detroit responded with the game’s next 12 points. Davis, who was playing his fifth game after returning from a shoulder injury, missed six of his first seven shots, but got it going in the second period to keep the Magic within striking distance.
The oddest aspect of the first half for the Magic was that Afflalo did not attempt a shot in 20 minutes on the floor in the first half. Afflalo switched from shooting guard to small forward to accommodate Redick in the lineup, but he bizarrely passed up open shots a couple of times. He did contribute in other ways with five rebounds and three assists in the first half.
Davis said the Magic have to make some adjustments both offensively and defensively if they are going to get back to their winning ways from early in the season.
``We can’t have Afflalo take only four shots the whole game,’’ he said. ``I played 23 minutes and took 16 shots – all good shots. In the second half I should have stayed aggressive. I took myself out of the game with the tech. … But at the end of the day I was playing like garbage.
``It was me (the reason for losing). I’m usually the energy on this team and I get it going on both sides of the ball. I played (poorly).’’
ORLANDOMAGIC.COM FEATURES: Redick Talks Career Future | Vucevic Making Strong Case to Play in Rising Stars Challenge
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
Follow John Denton on Twitter here