Though it was a close contest on Wednesday night against the New Orleans Hornets (6-22), the Orlando Magic (12-16) couldn't catch a break without Glen Davis. The Magic have are now 0-3 with Davis sidelined. Though it is a small sample size, you could say that Davis' absence is hurting the Magic's ability to get to the free-throw-line and to close out tight games. These last three losses have been decided in four points or fewer.
Jameer Nelson recorded his fourth double-double of the season along with a season- and team-high 28 points and 10 assists. He also made four of his eight three-point attempts. The team overall shot 11-of-30 from long-distance. Nelson led four other Magic players in double digits. Nikola Vucevic had 19, Arron Afflalo 14, J.J. Redick 12, and E`Twaun Moore (10).
But the Hornets outmatched the Magic's balanced scoring. Orlando had no way to stop Hornets 7-footer Robin Lopez. The former Stanford big man poured in a season- and a game-high 29 points, shooting 9-of-10 from the field and 11-of-12 from the free-throw line.
Orlando also didn't have an answer for Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez as he picked the Magic apart in the pick-and-roll. He shot 12-of-21 and handed out eight assists. Though he finished with four turnovers, his team committed just nine on the game.
In Sunday's loss to the Utah Jazz, the Magic ended up turning the ball over 20 times. It looked as if Orlando valued the rock much better in the first half on Wednesday, but they lost control of the ball at a higher rate and committed 10 turnovers in the second half alone.
It has been a while since the Amway Center had its seats filled in a sell-out crowd of 18,846- though it's probably fair to assume that fans wanted to see Orlando native Austin Rivers, top overall draft choice Anthony Davis, and former Magic power forward Ryan Anderson.
Anderson faced his former team for the first time since it dealt him to New Orleans in a sign-and-trade agreement. Anderson fared well in his return, scoring 15 points on four-of-11 from the field. He made only one three-pointer on five attempts from downtown.
The Magic, overall, were pretty bad defensively, allowing 50 percent shooting to New Orleans. Their jumper-heavy offense, however, nearly made up for their lack of defense. Orlando shot 55.6 percent in the first quarter while allowing New Orleans to hit 66.7 percent. The field-goal percentage inflation was related to the Hornets getting Lopez off to a good start; the four-year veteran scored 14 of the Hornets' 26 points in the period.
Orlando next travels to our nation's capital to face the Washington Wizards on Friday at 7 PM.