When things were going well for the Magic, it all started on teh defensive end of the floor. Orlando had a top-10 defensive team in the league and could at least make a game ugly to stay in it.
That mentality seemed to dissipate after Glen Davis' injury and as the young players took on a bigger role for the team. The attention to detail from the Magic seemed to be going away on the defensive end and it made the roster's offensive shortcomings even more apparent.
The potential is there and to defeat the 76ers on Sunday, the Magic needed to reach back and find it.
After giving up 30 points in the first quarter and then 51.2 percent shooting in the first half, Orlando held Philadelphia to 40 second-half points on 41.9 percent shooting and 1-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc. The Magic showed they had some grit and determination to close games as their own hot shooting cooled off. It was the kind of grind-it-out win that you expect more from a veteran team perhaps.
The Magic used their veteran lineup to get the win but many players contributed on the defensive end. Philadelphia was unable to grind it out in the fourth quarter after the two teams went back and forth for almost the entire second half -- the biggest lead of the half was eight points and there were 10 lead changes.
In the end, Philadelphia was unable to keep pace. The 76ers missed free throws down the stretch and the Magic got some big baskets from Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo to secure a 99-91 win at Amway Center on Sunday, snapping a seven-game home losing streak that spanned the previous month.
"We kind of just talked about how our approach needed to be a little bit better," Jacque Vaughn said. "There were stages in the game, it was kind of like gears. We started in first gear and then there was the six-minute timeout and we kind of amped it up into second gear a little bit. Eventually in the second half we got into fourth gear. I think it was kind of a game of gears and finally we ramped it up a little bit."
That has not always been the case for Orlando. Sometimes it seems like when the offense is not going well, other aspects of the game -- particularly the defensive end -- tend to collapse. That is the sign of a young team. And you hardly ever talk about "gears" when looking at a team with 17 wins on the season.no comments