Denton's Notebook: Saturday, Feb. 23

By John Denton
February 23, 2013

ORLANDO – A short practice Saturday afternoon prior to Orlando’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers got Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih familiar enough with the game plan to make their Magic debuts.

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said the team worked primarily on teaching the three newcomers concepts of plays so that they could at least line up properly and initiate the offense. Vaughn also put in a couple of out of bounds plays so the players were familiar with how the Magic operate offensively.

Wisely, Vaughn played Udrih, Harris and Lamb together early on Saturday night to give them some sense of familiarity in their Magic debuts. All three got into the game for the first time in the first quarter of Saturday’s game.

``We’re trying to incorporate them as quickly as possible,’’ Vaughn said prior to Saturday’s game. ``I’ll take a pulse of the game and see rotation-wise what’s good for us, but I want to incorporate those guys as soon as possible.’’

Harris, a 6-foor-8 small forward, is in his second NBA season, while Lamb, a 6-4 guard, is a rookie. Udrih, a veteran point guard, is in his ninth NBA season and he’s already somewhat familiar with Vaughn’s system since the two were former teammates in San Antonio.

``There’s some carryover (with Udrih) and our ability to communicate is where the big advantage lies,’’ Vaughn said. ``We’ve been in the same locker room together, so our communication will be an advantage for us.’’

Udrih was the first of the newcomers to get into the game for the Magic. He came in the game late in the first quarter, replacing E’Twaun Moore at point guard.

INJURY UPDATE: Magic veteran point guard Jameer Nelson underwent a MRI on his sore left knee on Saturday and it revealed a bruised patellar tendon. Nelson did not play Friday in Memphis and was held out again on Saturday night against Cleveland.

Nelson suffered the injury Wednesday in Dallas when he became twisted up as he and O.J. Mayo scrambled for a loose ball. The play resulted in a jump ball, but Nelson was in such pain that he could not stay in the game for the jump. He eventually needed help getting to the locker room and did not play.

Nelson has now missed 13 games with a groin strain, a sore hip, a sore Achilles’ tendon and a knee injury.

ETC: Magic reserve center Kyle O’Quinn has gotten quite an introduction to the NBA in this his rookie season. He looked on Thursday as four teammates were traded away and he was a part of Friday’s game where his team had, in essence, only seven players available. O’Quinn said he took the trading of Josh McRoberts and Gustavo Ayon as a sign that the team wants to get more playing time for he and fellow rookie Andrew Nicholson. Said O’Quinn: ``The coaches always say to be ready and to accept the challenge when it comes your way and that’s what I’ve tried to do. The coaches are putting us on the floor because they have faith in us. From the vets on down to the rookies, it’s just basketball and I’ve tried to keep it that simple.’’ … As he hobbled through the locker room before Saturday’s game because of a sore calf muscle and hip, Magic veteran small forward Arron Afflalo was asked when he last played 44 minutes in a game. Said Afflalo, ``Probably third grade.’’ … Having just played four games in five nights, the Magic will be off on Sunday and return to the practice floor on Monday. The team will then fly to Philadelphia where it will face the 76ers on Tuesday night. The Magic are back at the Amway Center on Wednesday to host the Sacramento Kings, a game that will cap a stretch of six games in nine nights.

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