By John Denton
December 26, 2012
ORLANDO – Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick is one of the most offensive-minded players in the NBA, and he winced late Wednesday night when told that his team went the final 6 minutes without a field goal and missed 19 of 24 shots in the fourth quarter.
But Redick knew deep down that even though the Magic’s offense missed several opportunities to bail the team out, it was actually a poor defensive effort from start to finish that was the reason behind a disappointing 97-94 loss to the New Orleans Hornets.
Ranked sixth in the NBA in points allowed per game and tied for eighth in field goal percentage allowed coming into Wednesday, the Magic were repeatedly gashed by season-best efforts from lightly regarded center Robin Lopez (29 points) and point guard Greivis Vasquez (27 points and eight assists).
``It was the whole night where we couldn’t get a string of stops and it definitely felt different. We’re used to getting stops, but it never seemed like we took them out of their rhythm,’’ Redick said.
``It’s kind of like Darwinism and survival of the fittest,’’ the Duke University-educated Redick continued. ``Our offense is not very good and that’s a reason that our defense has been good. It’s given us a chance to win games.’’
Riding a four-game winning streak a week ago, the Magic (12-16) lost a third consecutive game since Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis went down with a sprained shoulder that is expected to keep him out a month. The loss of Davis has jumbled rotations, taken away a 16-point scorer and left the Magic searching for some of the spark their big man usually provided.
``(Davis) is a big part of our team and we had been playing a certain way while he was out there and through him a little bit and we just have to figure things out,’’ said Magic point guard Jameer Nelson, who scored a season-high 28 points and handed out 10 assists. ``We shot the ball well, played well offensively and didn’t have many turnovers other than myself, but it boiled down to effort and defense for us.’’
Nikola Vucevic had 19 points, but his streak of double-digit rebound games ended at six when he finished with just nine boards. Shooting guards Arron Afflalo (14 points) and Redick (12 points) both went two of seven from 3-point range and were a combined one of nine in the fourth quarter.
``I thought Lopez had an explosive first half. He made some tough shots and that’s just a part of the NBA,’’ Afflalo said. ``His ability to keep them in the game with those tough shots kept them close and gave them confidence heading into the second half.’’
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