We are actually a little bit past the halfway point of the season, but the All-Star Break is as good a demarcating line as any to split the season into two halves.
The season so far has gone as expected to some degrees but is still a frustrating exercise with the team mired in a tough losing stretch -- two 10-game losing streaks and the current stretch of losing 24 out of the past 27 games. However, like Jacque Vaughn, let's accentuate the positive as we get set to begin the second half of the season and look at 10 of the top plays (nice round number, don't you think?) from the first half of the season:
J.J. Redick's Heroics
Twice, J.J. Redick has saved the day for the Magic. In a close game with the Pistons, Jacque Vaughn masterfully drew up a play that helped Redick get open for a 3-pointer in a big situation, giving Orlando a two-point lead on the road:
Redick then came back and did it again in Los Angeles against the Clippers. He hit a big 3-pointer late off a well-timed pump fake that got Matt Barnes off his feet and freed Redick up for a 3-pointer to give Orlando a three-point lead and a much-needed win:
The Magic have set a few records this year too.
Jameer Nelson set the team's all-time assist mark with a simple dish to Andrew Nicholson in Portland earlier in the season. Nelson has enjoyed his best passing season of his career as the team's leader and captain:
Not to be outdone, Nikola Vucevic joined the club with a record-setting performance in an overtime loss to Miami. Vucevic grabbed a Magic record 29 rebounds against the Heat, helping the Magic nearly topple the East-leading Heat:
This Ish Cray
Ish Smith has been one of the last guys off the bench for the Magic. His stats are not impressive and his play is sporadic. But he can sure create a highlight.
Smith started things off with perhaps the Magic's best dunk of the year, a wild fast-break dunk from the diminutive point guard against the Clippers:
The very next game, Smith came back with another display of his athleticism. He cleaned leaped over John Wall and then jumped again to block his shot:
We did not know Smith had this in him.
Orlando is not your typical young, rebuilding team. There are lots of veteran players who have to make plays. Early on in the season, that was exactly what they were doing and they provided a lot of hope to Magic fans of a stronger season.
That time might be gone, but guys like Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo continued to fight and play hard putting in some strong plays.
Davis came up with a big play as Orlando defeated Golden State on the road, beating the first quarter buzzer after an inbounds steal from Afflalo:
Afflalo introduced himself strong to the Magic faithful in the first game of the season. He took on his former team, the Nuggets, and put in a strong performance keying a big run in the third quarter that turned the game into a surprising blowout:
How could you be Moe Harkless?
Maurice Harkless has shown off his potential in a lot of ways this year. None better than a driving dunk against the Hornets that set off the Amway Center with a huge buzz:
Taking down the Lakers
However, the best win of the season by far was the Magic's win over the Lakers in early December. Orlando went in to Los Angeles and scrapped and fought a more talented team and then overtook the L.A. in the fourth quarter to get the cathartic win.
Even Jameer Nelson had to say afterward that the win was for the fans. He knew how important the game was to them.
What other plays would you add to this list? Share them with me on Twitter @OMagicDaily or in the comments below.