Denton's Notebook: Wednesday, Dec. 12
By John Denton
December 12, 2012
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic will be doing their part over the coming days to help spread some holiday cheer to those in need throughout Central Florida.
On Thursday, Magic players Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis, Hedo Turkoglu and Kyle O’Quinn will visit the pediatric patients at Florida Hospital for Children as part of the NBA Cares program. Davis, Turkoglu and O’Quinn will deliver gifts, sign autographs and play games with young fans.
On Dec. 18, The Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis Foundation is partnering with City Year, Orange County Public Library, PBS and Full Sail University for a special Christmas giveaway to local sixth graders at Meadowbrook Middle School in Orlando.
On Dec. 13, Magic veteran point guard Jameer Nelson will go shopping for one local family in need and then presents the toys and household essentials to the family on Dec. 18.
Through the J.J. Redick Foundation, J.J. and Chelsea Redick will bring holiday cheer to children from The Russell Home, a non-profit organization for severely handicapped children in Central Florida. The Redicks will roll out Santa’s sleigh courtside with a wagon filled with special gifts.
The Magic will provide a couple of Make-A-Wish game-night experiences to two fans. Jeremiah Christopher Hunt, 13, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer this year, and his family will be the Magic’s special guest sitting in courtside seats, participating in the ``high-five’’ line and meeting players pregame on Friday. And next week, 20-year-old Sha’Kiela Parson, who was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and her family will be the Magic’s special guest sitting in courtside seats.
Additionally, the Magic staff is hosting an internal collection drive to benefit women and children at BETA Center. Staff will donate diapers, formula, clothing, and toys to local infants and toddlers. BETA’s mission is to provide children and parents with the knowledge and support needed for strong and healthy families. With a focus on parenting, teen moms and at-risk families, BETA Center changes behaviors and lives.
ROAD WARRIORS: To a man, the Magic feel that the character of their team was shown with the way they played away from home last week during the longest road trip of the season.
The Magic beat the Lakers, Warriors and Suns, while also putting themselves in position to beat the Jazz and Kings before ultimately falling in the fourth quarter. The 3-2 record on the grueling trip that covered 7,200 miles, three states and four time zones qualified as a huge success for the Magic.
Especially telling for the team was the way that it responded in the fourth quarter of games when all of the odds were against them. The Magic scored 40 points in the fourth quarter against the Lakers and broke open close games against the Warriors and Suns with stellar performances down the stretch.
``It was really big for us to go out there and get three wins and grow as a team,’’ Davis said. ``Mentally, to win on the road for a young team it builds character. Now, coming back home will just help us. I think we grew a lot in terms of chemistry and learning how we want to play Orlando Magic basketball.’’
ETC: When Nelson returned home from the Magic’s long road trip early Monday morning his family got its first look at his cut and bruised left eye. Nelson received a gash over his eye when he was accidentally head-butted by Utah point guard Mo Williams. Said Nelson: ``My daughter kissed it and told me that it was ugly. But then she told me that she loved me and that made it better.’’ … With the Magic at the quarter pole of the marathon 82-game NBA season, head coach Jacque Vaughn said he has briefly thought to himself about what has worked and what hasn’t so far this year. Said Vaughn: ``You take a little glimpse of what has been good for us offensively as a team and what has been good defensively. We’ve been able to stay with some sound principles throughout the year and offensively we’ve grown. We’ve got Andrew Nicholson who can post up now and we’ve added some things that have made us a solid offensive team. … As one of the team captains, Nelson is doing his part to welcome Magic rookies Kyle O’Quinn, DeQuan Jones, Maurice Harkless and Nicholson to the NBA with some embarrassing tactics. Nelson made the rookies carry fluffy teddy bears along with them throughout the last roadtrip. Said Nelson: ``If I was a guy who tweets a lot I would have tweeted (the pictures), but I like to keep a lot of that stuff inside the locker room. But you may get a postcard coming soon for Christmas. I still haven’t made up my mind what color sweaters I want them to wear.’’ … The Magic host the Golden State Warriors on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Amway Center. The game was originally scheduled to start at 8 p.m. and be televised by ESPN, but the national broadcast of the game has been dropped. Orlando will leave right after the game for Charlotte where they will play the Bobcats on Saturday night.
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