The Orlando Magic sputtered to a 46-point first half effort against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, shooting just 36 percent from the floor. They didn't have either Jameer Nelson or Hedo Türkoğlu available to help initiate the offense, and were it not for the hot shooting of J.J. Redick--the veteran two-guard scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting--they would have found themselves in even worse shape.
And yet they emerged with a 115-94 victory, improving to 2-0 on the season.
Orlando's fortunes changed for good in the third quarter. The Suns' long misses fueled Orlando fast breaks to get the Magic back into the game, with Arron Afflalo doing most of the work himself.
Afflalo scored eight straight Magic points in a one-minute span late in the third period, helping trim Phoenix's lead from five points to one. Nikola Vučević tipped in a miss by Glen Davis to give Orlando a one-point lead at the 3:02 mark of the period, a lead which they would not relinquish.
All told, Afflalo scored 10 of his 22 points in the crucial third period, with Davis contributing 14 of his 22. Foul trouble kept Davis off his game in the first half; though he logged 15 minutes, he missed seven of his nine shots.
Redick led Orlando with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. He tied E'Twaun Moore, who started in Nelson's place, with six assists.
Vučević, for his part, tallied 18 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists for Orlando, more than holding his own against Marcin Gortat.
DeQuan Jones, the rookie swingman from Miami (FL), started in Turkoglu's place, but played just 16 minutes, contributing two points and one block. Orlando's offense suffered with him on the floor owing to his lack of shooting range.
The Magic's season continues Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls.