The Orlando Magic recorded their fifth straight win, 95-85, against the New Jersey Nets Friday evening, but in some ways this game might as well have been a loss. Starting point guard Jameer Nelson, arguably second only to Dwight Howard in importance, sprained his left knee taking a charge from New Jersey's Jordan Farmar in the first quarter and didn't return to action. More on that front from Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:
It's unclear whether Nelson's injury is significant.
"I think it's too early to tell," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We'll probably know more on Sunday when we practice."
Chris Duhon and Gilbert Arenas, who would receive a bulk of the point guard minutes if Nelson were to miss any time, offered little reason for optimism here. The pair combined for 7 points on 3-of-19 shooting, to go with 5 assists and two turnovers, against a below-average defensive team playing the mediocre Farmar and the rookie Ben Uzoh at point guard; Farmar outplayed the Magic's point guards, and while Uzoh missed both his shot attempts and failed to score, you have to prefer that to Arenas' 1-of-12, 2-point outing.
|Team||Pace||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
|Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;|
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.
On the plus side of the ledger, the Magic got a fine performance from Hedo Turkoglu, who took over the playmaking responsibilities in Nelson's absence and responded with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, 13 assists, and no turnovers in 38 minutes. Dwight Howard turned in a 21-point, 14-rebound, 3-block effort in what's becoming fairly standard for him. The two blights on his line? The 7-of-18 showing at the foul line and the five turnovers. Finally, backup power forward Ryan Anderson cranked in five three-pointers against his former team, to go with nine rebounds, in a tidy 30 minutes.
New Jersey kept the game close until the midpoint of the third quarter, with an Anderson triple giving Orlando a lead it never relinquished. The Magic were lax defensively, as evidenced by the Nets' outstanding effective field-goal percentage and the fact it placed six players in double-figure scoring, but they had trouble taking care of the ball. More than one in five of New Jersey's possessions ended in a turnover, and one has to think the Nets, just 5-29 on the road coming into this game, may have pulled off the upset if they stopped kicking the ball around so carelessly.