Magic Musings: Orlando’s road trip starts on wrong foot
The Washington Wizards aren’t among the NBA’s top defensive teams, but you might have a hard time convincing the Orlando Magic of that.
The Magic were held to a season-low point total as they started a six-game road trip with a 98-80 loss to the Wizards. Only two of their five starters played at all in the fourth quarter as coach Jacque Vaughn, correctly sensing the contest was out of reach, rested Arron Afflalo and Victor Oladipo for the final 12 minutes in anticipation of the second game of a back-to-back Tuesday night.
Oladipo, who attended nearby DeMatha High School, gave his family and friends something to cheer about in the first quarter when he started off well. Perhaps best of all, he had his second low turnover game in a row, committing just one in 26 minutes.
The Magic, again playing without Jameer Nelson (sprained foot) and Tobias Harris (sprained ankle), had only 41 points at halftime. That tied their low output for the season. Excluding Afflalo, they were a collective 10 of 33 from the floor.
Things didn’t get much better the rest of the way, with the Magic going scoreless for almost four minutes to begin the fourth quarter.
Afflalo led them with 21 points. As was the case Friday night in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Nikola Vucevic didn’t get into the flow on offense until the third quarter.
E’Twaun Moore, in his second consecutive start in place of Nelson, didn’t score until less than six minutes remained.
The turning point
With the score tied at 35, the Wizards outscored the Magic 17-6 over the final 4:19 of the first half. Nene had a three-point play, two free throws and a jump shot during that run while continuing to frustrate Glen Davis on the defensive end.
The difference maker
The well-traveled Trevor Ariza, who played in 89 games for the Magic over a two-year stretch, led the Wizards with 24 points, all in the first three quarters. He nailed all four of his shots from 3-point range.
Stat of the game
Wizards point guard John Wall had more assists through three quarters (13) than the Magic (12).
Tuesday night at Philadelphia, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Florida).