Nuggets Edge Howard-less Magic, 104-101
The situation tonight couldn’t have been worse for the Orlando Magic who, on the cusp of a three game slide, were without their bread and butter, Dwight Howard. Howard, whose status is listed as day-by-day, was out with back spasms, marking only the third time in his eight year career that he has been out by injury.
Instead of Howard, the Magic relied on Jameer Nelson who proved, once again, his All-Star status wasn’t a fluke. Nelson scored 27 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists, but it still wasn’t enough to overcome the Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets also received tremendous play from their point guard, Ty Lawson, who scored 25 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out 9 assists of his own.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis got the start in place of Howard, and although he had a sound game of his own with 18 points and 16 rebounds, the Magic’s lack of a true center showed all night. Nowhere was this more evident than in the play of Lawson, whose speedy cuts to the basket were left mostly unchallenged. The Nuggets, by the way, scored a whopping 44 points in the paint.
The Magic posted a valiant effort despite missing their star player; however, no one is handing out awards for that. The Magic still needed a win and failed to produce one, extending their losing streak to three games.
It is remarkable though that the Magic only totalled 12 turnovers for the entire game, whereas the Nuggets had 17. Turnovers are an area of major concern for Orlando, considering their ball handling is sorely lacking.
Specifically, Hedo Turkoglu recovered from a horrid performance on Friday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks in which he, alone, turned the ball over 5 times. Tonight, he only turned the ball over twice.
“It starts with me and have to take most of the blame,’’ Turkoglu said. “But I see things that most guys don’t because of my size and when I see them open I pass the ball. But I guess I have to be more sure with my passes and make the simple plays.’’
As if things couldn’t get worse on the night, the Magic now have much bigger concerns than turnovers. How long will Howard’s back problems sideline him? What about Ryan Anderson? He limped off the court with less than a minute to play with a sprained ankle. To put the cherry on top… the Magic desperately need a higher seeding but losses such as these will only keep them in their current rank.
To end on a lighter note, it is refreshing to see the team step up in such a way when they’re needed. Everybody on the team did what they could to contribute, but Denver is a good, well-balanced team that doesn’t require one single player like the Magic do. Let’s see how the Magic handle their next game on the road against the Pistons. Do you believe in Magic?
Written by Brandon Hayhurst
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