Even playing against a team ranking 28th in offensive efficiency, the Orlando Magic somehow struggled defensively as they faced the Charlotte Bobcats Friday night. Orlando was at one point a top-ten defensive team; it now ranks 18th in the league in defensive efficiency. Things got out of hand in the second quarter where the Magic trailed the Bobcats by as much as 13 points. The Bobcats shot 59 percent in the first half.
Although Orlando got stops in the second half inched closer in the fourth quarter, their efforts still weren't enough to seal a win.
The backcourt of Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo combined for almost half of points the Magic scored - the two of them shot 16-of-37 field goals. Afflalo finished with a team-high 23 points. Nelson, who been averaging 20.4 points per game in his last eight contests, scored 22 points. He is also averaging a career-high 7.2 assists per game; on Friday he handed out seven assists, but left the game in the fourth quarter sustaining an injury. Head coach Jacque Vaughn thought Nelson may have a sore hip. Glen Davis also left the court due to a sore back, according to Vaughn.
J.J. Redick had trouble finding his shot during the first half - he had only one point and went 0-3 in field goals - but he fought hard to get his offense going. Redick got the crowd on its feet after swishing a three-point buzzer-beater to end the third quarter bringing the Magic within five points at 76-71. He finished the night with 13 points, knocking down three triples.
It was a quiet game for Nikola Vucevic, who had recorded a double-double in each of his last eight games. The big man logged in 40 minutes of playing time, yet was unable to reach the double-double plateau. Vucevic had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Rookie power forward Andrew Nicholson was a bright spot for Orlando, finishing with 10 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes. Oddly, Nicholson picked up another double-foul. In his last game he had two.
Orlando hosts the Dallas Mavericks this Sunday at 6 PM.