Monday, February 4, 7:00 PM (EST) at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
14-33 (3rd Southwest, 12th East)
20-26 (4th Atlantic, 9th East)
TV: Comcast SportsNet Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
THE ENEMY: E. MOORE | J.J. REDICK | M. HARKLESS | A. NICHOLSON | N. VUCEVIC
Leaning On Youth
With big man Glen Davis out for the season with a fractured left foot, point guard Jameer Nelson nursing a left forearm injury, and shooting guard Arron Afflalo (calf) out as well, the Magic were forced to go with a starting unit against the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday that featured two rookies and two sophomores. Shooting guard J.J. Redick (seventh season) served as the only veteran in Orlando's opening five, with rookie Andrew Nicholson and Moe Harkless starting at the forward positions and sophomores E'Twuan Moore and Nikola Vucevic starting at point guard and center, respectively.
Coming off the bench, Hedo Turkoglu (13th season) and Josh McRoberts (sixth season) were the only seasoned vets to log minutes, combining for 20. Of the 240 available minutes for the Magic Saturday, rookies played 83, sophomores played 75, third-year players played 24, and players with 4+ seasons of experience added 58.
Sophomore Nikola Vucevic and rookie Moe Harkless were selected by the Sixers in the first round of the the 2011 and 2012 NBA Drafts, respectively, but were packaged as part of the four-team blockbuster deal that sent Dwight Howard from Orlando to Los Angeles and Andrew Bynum from LA to Philadelphia.
Vucevic has turned heads in his second season, averaging an impressive 12.1 points (52.8 FG%) and 11.3 rebounds in 32.4 minutes a night. He's grabbed at least nine rebounds in 26 straight games, including a franchise-record 29-rebound performance against the Miami Heat on New Year's Eve.
Harkless' minutes have fluctuated throughout the season, as he started 21 games in the month of December with mixed results before earning a handful of DNP-CDs to start the new year. On January 28, he was reinserted into the starting lineup and has averaged 12.3 points (46.3 FG%), 7.3 rebounds, and 2.5 steals in the four games since. Saturday against the Bucks, he posted career highs in points (19), rebounds (14), steals (4), and minutes played (42).
Chester native Jameer Nelson was a four-year star at local St. Joe's, leading the Hawks to a perfect 27-0 regular season record in his senior season (2003-04) and winning the Naismith College Player of the Year award that year, as well. Over his nine-year NBA career, the six-foot point guard has posted averages of 12.6 points (45.2 FG%, 38.4 3P%), 3.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists, and earned an All-Star selection in 2009.
After starting the season with an unexpected 12-13 record, the rebuilding Magic have won just two games, going 2-20 during that stretch; Orlando has lost nine straight dating back to December 21. Monday's meeting with the Sixers will mark the team's fifth straight on the road. They've been outscored 103.5 to 89.0 during the trip.