The Charlotte Bobcats changed their uniforms, colors and font entering this year. I am sure part of it was to distance themselves from the previous season when the team won only seven games and establish a new identity.
It did not matter much to Jameer Nelson, a player that likely haunts Bobcats fans' dreams. It was still the Bobcats to him.
Nelson closed the game with four back-breaking points and then a nice dish to Nikola Vucevic for an and-one dunk. It belied Nelson's foul trouble throughout the game and the career-high 32 points Kemba Walker scored against him. An Orlando 107-98 win over Charlotte on Saturday makes the weekend feel so much better, with a sweep of the back-to-back games.
Jameer Nelson scored 16 points and dished out six assists, shooting 7 for 13 from the foul line. He started his late-game run with a falling away floater that just seemed like an impossible shot after breaking down the defense on the pick and roll. He then followed that up by receiving the ball late in the shot clock, sizing up Walker and draining the jumper over him.
His final nail in Charlotte's coffin came with Nelson splitting a double team, drawing in the defender and feeding Nikola Vucevic for a strong dunk at the rim and a foul. The Magic had erased a small deficit with about three minutes to go and pulled ahead, shutting the Bobcats down and closing the game.
Orlando has yet to play a game that ended in a one-possession victory. This game though was hardly a runaway. The Bobcats had the lead late in the game and seemed ready to go toe-to-toe with the Magic and break their 10-game losing streak.
Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions especially pressed the point. Walker had a career-high 32 points and Sessions scored 14 points. Sessions had a big second quarter to bring Charlotte back into the game after Orlando had its best first quarter in a very long time. Gerald Henderson, who is quickly becoming one of those thorns in the Magic's side, had 10 points in the third quarter to keep the Bobcats going.
Charlotte got the ball out on the break continuously with 17 fast break points and were looking to quicken the pace. It worked for portions of the game as Charlotte was racing out, creating mismatches and getting to the line. The fast break points and the free throw shooting kept Charlotte within striking distance throughout.
The Magic, much like Friday's game against the Warriors, had enough gas in the tank and a run to answer every Bobcats attempt to take this game.
So many players stepped up at different times.
Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo each had 20 points on efficient shooting, to many's surprise. Davis hit on 7 of his 11 shots and Afflalo hit on 8 of his 14. Orlando as a team shot 54.4 percent from the floor and were able to work the ball inside out and get the shots they wanted.
The Magic's main work was done in the paint where the team scored a season-high 60 points. That led to another 25 assists on the game. Gustavo Ayon was extremely active in the second quarter with eight points and four rebounds. Nikola Vucevic added 12 points and 12 rebounds, recording his second straight double double.
The Magic again just had answers and continued to attack and attack. Orlando missed plentyo f shots and make-able shots. J.J. Redick had a string of at least three missed open 3-pointers. But he kept shooting and eventually made key shots to help Orlando keep control of the game.
It was a gritty win and one the Magic needed to keep the positive momentum rolling. The Magic's defense was not perfect with all the fouling and the great work from Charlotte's point guards and poor transition defense for stretches. But again the Magic won without their best defense. They found a way to continue attacking and stay within their offensive gameplan.