Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images
4-9 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 BLK | 14 REB | 12 PTS | +13
After missing the last four games with a sprained left ankle, Vucevic made his return to the starting lineup and promptly fixed the Magic’s rebounding woes, which had ailed the team for the past week during his absence. Orlando out-rebounded the Bobcats by a wide margin (52-41) and Vucevic had much to do with that disparity.
6-16 FG | 3-7 3P | 7 REB | 6 AST | 17 PTS | +13
Nelson scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, and was the main reason the Magic were able to snap a six-game losing streak and come away with a victory against the Bobcats. With the Magic leading 83-79 and trying to hold off a late Charlotte comeback, Nelson’s 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining proved to be the dagger.
8-17 FG | 1-1 3P | 12 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | +10
What’s the bigger surprise? That Davis made a corner 3 or that he gobbled up double-digit rebounds in his 11th game of the regular season? The 3-pointer was a happy accident, but the 12 rebounds were much-needed for Orlando. Big Baby finally put his big body to good use, having the most success muscling rookie Cody Zeller around for boards.
6-18 FG | 1-4 3P | 5 AST | 4 REB | 16 PTS | +14
Afflalo has been on a bit of a cold streak lately. After scoring a career-high 43 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on December 3, Afflalo has failed to eclipse the 20-point mark in his last three games. The fadeaway midrange jumpers he’s been feasting on this season weren’t falling against the Bobcats and he wasn’t able to connect on many of his 3-point attempts, either.
They made a lot of headlines during the offseason for overpaying free agent Al Jefferson, but it’s the hiring of Steve Clifford (a Stan Van Gundy acolyte) that should have warranted more press. Despite a sputtering offense, the Bobcats have been competitive in nearly every game — their loss against the Magic the latest example. That’s a credit to Clifford’s coaching.