Denton's Pregame Report: Dec. 7
By John Denton
December 7, 2012
SACRAMENTO – As one of the team captains and a boxing enthusiast, Jameer Nelson is attempting to arrange a ballroom at the Orlando Magic’s hotel in Phoenix so that the team can get together and watch Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight.
And after receiving an accidental head-butt just above the left eye on Wednesday night, Nelson will take the court tonight in Sacramento already looking like he’s gone a few rounds in the boxing ring.
Nelson received a two-inch gash above his left eye when Utah point guard Mo Williams accidentally head-butted him on Wednesday. Nelson was bloody and temporarily woozy at the time, but stayed in the game. And on Thursday and Friday the eye got progressively darker with black and blue circles.
Despite the shiner, Nelson will be on the court tonight when the Magic (7-11) face the Sacramento Kings (5-12) at Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena. Tipoff is just after 10 p.m. ET.
``It’s just part of the game and it’s a physical game,’’ Nelson said. ``(Williams) didn’t do it on purpose and it makes you feel better when you get hit by mistake.’’
Nelson recalled a funny story from Wednesday night when he finally had to come out of the game because his vision was getting fuzzy. As he walked to the bench, Nelson sought out Magic assistant coach James Borrego, but instead got a funny message from head coach Jacque Vaughn.
``Coach (Vaughn) gave me a standing eight count and it was funny,’’ Nelson remembered. ``I was looking for one of the coaches and he was right in front of me. I was like, `JB, JB (Borrego), where are you?’ He thought I was joking and Coach (Vaughn) asked if I needed a standing eight count. He said, `Let me see your (boxing) gloves.’’’
Vaughn marveled at the toughness of his point guard, who refused to come out of the game and pushed to re-enter the game in the fourth quarter.
``I just wanted to make sure he was OK because he was a little wobbly out there,’’ Vaughn said with a chuckle. ``He got a nice little shiner. He didn’t (want to come out of the game). I was ready to sub for him, but he said he was ready to go and I listened.’’
Nelson, who made Orlando’s only 3-pointer in Wednesday’s 87-81 loss in Utah, has a long history of boxers in his family. He said that his uncle, Lloyd ``Bad News’’ Nelson, was a one-time Olympic hopeful, and that his late cousin also worked his way up the professional ranks. Nelson has spent summers in the past sparring as a way to mix up his conditioning routines.
``I just like to box,’’ Nelson said. ``Nobody likes to get hit, but you definitely want to learn how to hold your hands.’’
For the record, Nelson believes that Pacquiao will win Saturday night’s fight, the fourth meeting between the two fighters. Meanwhile, teammate Gustavo Ayon – only the third Mexican-born player ever to reach the NBA – will be rooting for Marquez, his countryman.
``Until Marquez proves he can beat the man, you have to go with Pacquiao. He’s the second-best fighter in the world,’’ said Nelson, not mentioning Floyd Mayweather.
``I’m not sure that many of these young guys (on the Magic) will even know who Pacquiao and Marquez are, but I’m quite sure they will know who some of the older fighters are. But it will be a good experience for us, and a good time to bond.’’
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