Denton: Magic vs. Warriors Analysis (12/31/13)


By John Denton
Dec. 31, 2013

ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic’s longest home stand of the season ended Tuesday just the way it began two weeks earlier – with a frustrating loss to a team from the Western Conference.

But the biggest loss of the night could have come in the form of standout Magic center Nikola Vucevic grotesquely rolling his left ankle and limping off the court in pain.

Vucevic didn’t come back into the game after suffering his first-quarter ankle injury and the Magic didn’t come back after falling into an unsightly 24-point hole in the first half. Orlando saw its modest two-game winning streak come to an end when it couldn’t keep up with the break-neck pace set by the Golden State Warriors in a 94-81 loss at the Amway Center.

For the Magic (10-21), it was their ninth straight loss to a team from the rugged Western Conference. Of more pressing matters for the Magic, they were outrebounded 56-37 without Vucevic and they could be without the NBA’s fifth-leading rebounder for an extended period of time.

``Obviously, (Vucevic) is a guy who helps us out a lot on the floor, but if he goes down we have to pick up each other and still play ball,’’ frustrated forward Tobias Harris said. ``That’s basketball and the NBA. Somebody might get hurt, but you keep playing. It’s not, `Oh, Nik is out.’ Obviously Nik is one of the best centers in the NBA, but he wasn’t there and we can’t sit and make excuses.’’


Follow John Denton on Twitter here