The Orlando Magic topped the Philadelphia 76ers, 99-91, on Sunday night to end their seven-game home losing streak. Team co-captain Jameer Nelson was instrumental in the victory, scoring 24 points and dishing 10 assists against his hometown team.
The Magic did not make Nelson available to the media following the game and offered no official comment on his status. The veteran point guard may have aggravated an injury to his arm or shoulder.
Nelson catches fire
Nelson probably couldn't feel his face on Sunday night after he swished a three-pointer at the 3:40 mark to put Orlando up four points. He was a fireball relentlessly burning down the Sixers' defense. Not even All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, who shot 4-of-15 from the field, could extinguish Nelson's hot shooting.
Nelson's performance against the Sixers recalled his All-Star season in 2008/09.
The interesting aspect about Nelson is that fans and analysts have always criticized him for his size, for his defense, and for his consistency. But any time he has an admirable show like this, one can easily overlook all of those weaknesses.
Vaughn "interested" to see matchups with Philly
In his postgame meeting with the media, one reporter asked Magic coach Jacque Vaughn tried to put a "stamp" on the game.
"I don't think [s] any more than usual." Vaughn said. "I thought overall his energy and his approach was great for us from the beginning of the game. It was his first time he played Philly [in 2012/13] and so I was interested to see, matchup-wise, how we were going to cover their guys and how they were going to cover us. I thought he was really good for us tonight."
Nelson missed the Magic's earlier games with Philly due to injury. Sunday's win makes him 21-5 in his career against the Sixers
Magic's clutch shooting rankles Collins
Nelson and Afflalo came up with several clutch baskets in Sunday's game, with Afflalo scoring six of his 17 points in the final two minutes of the game. His three-pointer with 58.9 seconds to play put Orlando up seven points, which tied its biggest lead of the night. Philadelphia coach Doug Collins was asked to comment on their performances.
"Well, [Nelson] made some big shots," Collins said. "We missed the two free throws and he hit the 3, so it's like a five-point swing. That was probably the killer area right there. I felt really bad for Damien [Wilkins] because Damien really played his heart out for him to throw that ball away at the end. He feels terrible. Afflalo always hurts us."
Wilkins threw a bad outlet pass intended for Holiday with 1:11 to play. Orlando guard Beno Udrih picked it off, setting up Afflalo's big three-pointer.
"I thought Thad [Young] played great once again," Collins said of his young power forward. Young finished with a game-high 26 points and a team-high 12 rebounds in 40 minutes. "I thought we had some guys play very, very well, but we just have not found a way to finish games, to get them closed out."
Young offers a scouting report on Nelson and Afflalo
"Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo are two good players," Young said. "Jameer is playing at a high level. Arron Afflalo is playing at a high level too so those guys are going to make shots. They take a lot of shots to the point where they have to make shots. With those guys, you have to try to contain them and hope that they miss shots. They got hot."
Vaughn praises Orlando's fans
Magic attendance has taken a downturn of late, but Vaughn was pleased with Magic fans' performance on Sunday.
"The fans have been unbelievable. Staying until the end of the games, cheering. It was good to give them a win. They deserve it. We appreciate the fact that they're here and I have been stressing that to the guys."
Afflalo's locker-room interview
Afflalo talks to the media about the upcoming matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. He also talked to us about how Carmelo Anthony's dynamic during his tenure with the Denver Nuggets compares to Dwight Howard's in Orlando.