Nelson lifts Magic over Bobcats 92-83
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn had been eagerly awaiting the return
of Nikola Vucevic to his starting lineup.
The 7-foot center showed why Wednesday night.
Vucevic had a double-double in the first half after missing the
last four games with a sprained left ankle, Jameer Nelson had 12 of
his 17 points in the fourth quarter and the Orlando Magic snapped a
six-game losing streak with a 92-83 victory over the Charlotte
Glen Davis added 17 points and 12 rebounds and Arron Afflalo
chipped in with 16 points.
”We needed this one,” Davis said. ”We needed it bad. We are a
good team. We just all got to be healthy, you know what I mean?
Look at what Nik did out there today. We’ve been missing that. It’s
been tough for us in the paint. He loosens everything up for me,
most definitely. Him being a factor out there, people have to guard
him and also he’s going to get rebounds and help us with fast-break
Orlando had 36 points in the paint and outrebounded the Bobcats
52-41. The Magic scored 17 points off second-chance points, many of
those rebounds kept alive by Vucevic.
Vucevic, who was a game-time decision, finished with 12 points
and 14 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season.
”Just overall you see rotation-wise, we were a little bit more
concrete and had a little bit more flow to our rotations tonight,”
Vaughn said. ”We had favorable matchups at different parts of the
game, and when he can match up against Al Jefferson that’s pretty
good for us.”
Nelson came up with a big 3-pointer late for the Magic, and also
had seven rebounds and six assists while outplaying opposing point
guard Kemba Walker.
The Magic led by four with just over a minute remaining in the
game when Nelson knocked down a 26-footer from the top of the key
to push the lead to 86-79. The Bobcats cut it back to five, but
Nelson beat Walker on a drive for a layup to push the lead back to
seven with 42 seconds left and essentially seal the victory.
Seven Orlando players finished in double figures in scoring.
”I think that is how we have to play,” Vucevic said. ”We
don’t really have a go-to guy on this team that is going to score
20 a game. You got to have a different guy scoring.”
The Bobcats shot 37 percent in ending their two-game win
Jefferson led Charlotte with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Walker, who had 31 points against Stephen Curry on Monday night,
was held to 10 points on 4-of-18 shooting.
Orlando led 43-42 at the break behind a productive first half
from Vucevic, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds while outplaying
After going 13 straight games without giving up 100 points, the
Bobcats’ second-ranked defense allowed 111 points to Golden State
on Monday night in a four-point victory, prompting coach Steve
Clifford to say tongue-in-cheek ”we shut them down.” While the
Bobcats limited the Magic to 42 percent shooting, they couldn’t get
their offense going and the ball wouldn’t go down.
Charlotte’s trio of Walker, Gerald Henderson and Jefferson were
a combined 11 of 42 from the field.
”I think our team for the most part all year our effort has
been exceptional. Tonight our readiness from our starters was
poor,” Clifford said. ”… We got outworked on the glass. We came
in as the No. 1 rebounding team in the NBA and for whatever reason
tonight didn’t put the effort in, the physicality in, the things
that are hard to do night in and night out. We didn’t want to do it
tonight and it cost us.”
The game featured a matchup of former Indiana Hoosiers with Cody
Zeller taking on Victor Oladipo. Zeller finished with 10 points on
5-of-7 shooting and six rebounds, while Oladipo had 10 points on
5-of-10 shooting with four rebounds.
”It’s always fun playing against Victor and we seem to bring
out the best in each other,” Zeller said.
NOTES: The Bobcats signed small forward Chris Douglas-Roberts
earlier in the day, but he did not play. The team released James
Southerland to make room on the roster. … Afflalo has scored in
double digits 21 times this year. … Henderson has scored in
double digits in 13 straight games. … Walker has started 170
straight games for the Bobcats, tied for the third-longest streak
in franchise history.