Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images
With Glen Davis sidelined with a fractured left foot and Arron Afflalo out with a strained left calf, it was expected that the Orlando Magic — one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA — would struggle mightily on offense against the Boston Celtics. Especially when you consider the fact that the Celtics ranked 8th in Defensive Rating heading into Friday’s game.
Lo and behold, that’s what happened, as the Magic scored 35 points in the first half and struggled to generate points in their half-court offense. Nikola Vucevic, J.J. Redick, and Andrew Nicholson were the only players for Orlando to have any kind of success offensively.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the Magic, it did. Late in the second quarter, Jameer Nelson suffered a bruised left forearm on a routine play. Paul Pierce grabbed a rebound and Nelson tried to strip the ball. While that was happening, Pierce’s elbow collided into Nelson’s left arm. Nelson, in pain, had to come out of the game and didn’t play in the second half.
In a way, Orlando was lucky to have only been down by 11 points in the first half.
In the second half, the Magic — without Davis, Afflalo, and Nelson — kept fighting and were able to cut their deficit to just three points midway through the third quarter.
But the Celtics were able to seize control of the game and go on a 15-5 run to end the period to extend their lead to 12. In the fourth quarter, Boston’s lead ballooned to as many as 23 points before Orlando went on a late run to make the final score respectable.
With the defeat, the Magic lost their eighth consecutive game and for the 19th time over their last 21 games.
At a certain point, with the losses piling up and the trade deadline approaching, you have to wonder if it’s time for Orlando to blow it up and focus on developing the young players — especially guys like Maurice Harkless, Andrew Nicholson, and Kyle O’Quinn.
Redick’s name has been throw around in trade rumors and when you consider his cap-friendly contract, as well as the fact that he’s having arguably the best season of his career, you have to imagine that general manager Rob Hennigan is thinking long and hard about what Redick might fetch in a trade.
With every loss, you have to wonder if now is the time for the Magic to position themselves fully for the future.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
Jeff Green came off the bench for Boston and made a big impact with his athleticism. No play signified that more than in the third quarter when he pump-faked Hedo Turkoglu and finished with a thunderous dunk.
That Was … Anti-Climactic
It’s safe to say, with Orlando continuing to lose, that this is what the Magic fanbase expected when Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson were traded and Stan Van Gundy was fired.