Magic Musings: Orlando loses Vucevic in loss to Warriors
DEC 31, 2013 7:26p ET
ORLANDO, Fla. -- On the one-year anniversary of him setting the franchise single-game record for rebounds with 29, Nikola Vucevic had a New Year's Eve he would just as soon forget.
The same went for the rest of the Orlando Magic.
The Golden State Warriors, one of the NBA's top defensive teams, played that part to the hilt while rolling to a 94-81 victory. The Magic faced a considerable task going into the game, and their job got even tougher when Vucevic sprained his left ankle during the first quarter and never returned.
After shooting better than 50 percent from the floor in victories over Detroit and Atlanta, the Magic came crashing down to earth. Arron Afflalo had his lowest-scoring game since Nov. 6, and the rest of his teammates didn't fare much better in wrapping up their longest home stand of the season with a 2-4 record.
The Warriors improved to 2-0 on a seven-game road trip which includes a stop Thursday night at Miami. They have now held opponents to less than 40 percent shooting in 14 games. Only the Indiana Pacers have more.
Even with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combining to go only 2 of 10 from 3-point range, the Warriors took care of business. They led 58-35 at halftime, almost matching the 24-point advantage the New York Knicks enjoyed at the half against the Magic last week.
The Magic had beaten the Warriors in eight of their previous nine meetings. They now have a nine-game losing streak against Western Conference opponents.
THE TURNING POINT
By the time Vucevic hobbled to the locker room with 3:29 to go in the first quarter, the Warriors had made 12 of 17 shots to take a 26-13 lead. The Magic were never able to trim the deficit to single digits thereafter.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Warriors forward David Lee had 22 points and nine rebounds before getting the entire fourth quarter off. The former Florida star scored more points in the paint during the first half (14) than the Magic (12).
STAT OF THE GAME
Afflalo was trying to join Larry Bird and Detlef Schrempf as the only players since 1985 with six consecutive games of 20 or more points while shooting at least 50 percent overall and from 3-point range. He finished with 15 points on 7-of-18 shooting and missed all four of his 3-pointers.
Thursday night at Cleveland, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Florida).