By John Denton
January 30, 2013
The Magic were already without starting swingman Arron Afflalo, who missed his second consecutive game because of a strained left calf muscle.
Afflalo suffered the injury in practice on Saturday and aggravated it in Sunday’s loss to Detroit. He hopes to practice on Thursday in Boston.
It was a forgettable three days in New York as the Magic fell 97-77 to the Nets in Brooklyn on Monday and allowed the Knicks (28-15) to pull away in Wednesday’s fourth quarter. It was the third time this season that New York used a late surge to dispatch the Magic. The Knicks outscored the Magic 62-46 in the second half.
Orlando (14-31) lost for the seventh time since whipping the Indiana Pacers in impressive fashion on Jan. 16. Overall, the Magic have lost 18 of 20 games, all but ruining an impressive 12-13 start to the season.
``We’re doing s lot of good things out there in the midst of losing,’’ Nelson said. ``We’ll keep watching film on games and try to get better. Yes, we’re losing but we’re not losing by 30 or 40 or not putting forth the effort. We still have a chance to win games.’’
Redick scored 29 points, two off the career-high 31 that he scored on Sunday night against the Detroit Pistons. He hit his first seven shots in the first half and made four more 3-pointers in the game. Afterward, Redick was more concerned about the health of Davis.
``It’s disappointing because you never want to see a teammate get hurt,’’ Redick said. ``We played without him before and we’ll have to continue to roll with the punches. Guys will have to continue to step up.’’
Nelson bounced back from a poor game on Monday in Brooklyn with 21 points, nine rebounds and two 3-pointers. Magic center Nikola Vucevic, who was named to the BBVA Rising Stars All-Star Game roster earlier in the day, had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The three-day stay in New York and Wednesday’s game at Madison Square Garden served as a homecoming for Magic rookies Maurice Harkless and Kyle O’Quinn, both of whom are Queens natives. Harkless started in place of Afflalo and had six points and three rebounds. O’Quinn played 9 minutes and had a 16-foot jump shot and a fourth-quarter dunk for his only points. Like other teammates, O’Quinn was more down about the loss of Davis than making his debut at MSG.
``I feel bad for him because I want to say that he’s my veteran (mentor) and it’s tough to see your veteran go down like that,’’ O’Quinn said. ``It was tough to see that look on his face. My prayers go up for him. Not to brush it off, but we have a game to play (on Friday in Boston).’’
Tyson Chandler had 21 points for the Knicks. Half of his 10 field goals came on lobs when the Knicks picked apart Orlando’s defense on pick-and-roll plays. Anthony, who had 25 and 40 points against the Magic in previous games, scored 20 points on just eight of 17 shooting.
``We competed for a half and guys gave effort, but (the Knicks) made shots tonight,’’ Vaughn said. ``The game plan was for us to make some guys make some shots and they ended up doing it. And it’s just unfortunate that we lost Glen for sure.’’
The Magic’s five-game, nine-day road trip continues Friday in Boston. The team will practice at Harvard on Thursday before playing the Celtics on Friday. The Magic will also play in Milwaukee (Saturday) and Philadelphia (Monday) before heading home.
Orlando got 36 points from its starting backcourt and made 52.5 percent of its shots in the first half, yet it was tied with the Knicks at 52 at the break. The Magic’s slumping defense allowed the Knicks to shoot 55 percent in the first 24 minutes while scoring 30 points in the paint.
Nelson has a long history of dominating Raymond Felton, and that was the case again in the first half. Nelson torched Felton and the New York defense for 19 points in the first half.
Redick was nearly as good, hitting his first seven shots, including three 3-pointers. He had 17 points in the first half.
The Magic have never been hotter than they were early in the game when they made 61.9 percent of their shots and drilled five first-quarter 3-pointers. The bad news, however, was that the game was tied at 31 after one period because the Magic again had trouble slowing down the New York offense.
Redick and Nelson, both of whom had poor games Monday in Brooklyn, got the Magic off to a stellar shooting that hushed the Garden crowd. Redick made his first six shots and scored 14 first-quarter points. Nelson, meanwhile, made five of eight shots, including two 3-pointers, and had 12 in the first period.
Redick said the losing ways of late have been frustrating, especially with the way the Magic have been competitive down to the wire so many times. But he vowed that the team’s spirit will not be broken by the hard times.
``It’s difficult and losing is not fun. It wears on you, but we have to keep perspective and stay positive,’’ Redick said. ``You can’t allow it to defeat your spirit. I don’t think it’s done that for myself or this team.
``It’s always a challenge because any competitor is a sore loser by nature,’’ Redick continued. ``To go through 18 of 20 like we’re on now, it’s difficult swallow. You think about it daily and before you go to bed. You just hope that you can turn it around at some point and win some basketball games.’’
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