While uncertainty still surrounds the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns after major offseason changes, both teams appear to have gained some confidence with wins under their belts.
Orlando's season-opening victory, however, came at a cost.
Hoping to overcome Hedo Turkoglu's absence, the Magic try for a fourth consecutive win over the visiting Suns on Sunday night.
Glen Davis posted 29 points and 10 rebounds and J.J. Redick scored 21 off the bench as Orlando (1-0) kicked off the post-Dwight Howard era with Friday's 102-89 victory over Denver. The Magic, who held the Nuggets to 38.1 percent shooting, took a 58-37 lead into halftime and never looked back.
"Amazing, to get our first win in this fashion," said Arron Afflalo, acquired from Denver in the four-team trade that sent Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers. "Obviously Glen and J.J. stepped up, but it was just a real inspired team effort.
"It's exciting man, there's been a lot of change around here. The expectations haven't been too high, so for us to get off to this type of start is a good feeling and we're gonna continue to take it one game at a time."
The Magic, though, suffered a big blow when Turkoglu broke a bone in his left hand. The 13-year veteran had surgery and is expected to miss at least a month.
"That's my brother from another mother, man," point guard Jameer Nelson said. "I've been with Turk so long. It's upsetting to see that. He'll be all right. He's a trooper and we'll pick him up."
It remains to be seen how first-year coach Jacque Vaughn plans to fill Turkoglu's void. Maurice Harkless (sports hernia surgery) and fellow rookie DeQuan Jones (strained abductor muscle) both sat out Friday but returned to practice Saturday and could play in this game.
"We'll have to make do," Vaughn told the team's official website. "It could be (extra) minutes or different combinations on the floor. So we'll address it and deal with it."
Phoenix (1-1), meanwhile, is still getting accustomed to life without Steve Nash. Two nights after suffering a season-opening 87-85 loss to Golden State, the Suns bounced back Friday with a 92-89 victory over Detroit.
"It was really nice to have a win here," newcomer Luis Scola said. "The first one is always special and you need that to get it going. If we were to lose this game then we go on the road, and you start getting a little impatient and everything's more difficult. We just needed one."
Marcin Gortat, who spent his first three-plus seasons with Orlando, recorded 16 points and 16 boards while Goran Dragic scored 15 and notched 10 assists. The Suns outrebounded the Pistons 52-39 and limited them to 41.1 percent from the field.
"We need to learn that there's only one way to win games, and that's playing focused for 48 minutes," Scola added. "If we play hard and hustle and do all the little things, it's not going to be pretty a lot of times but that's just the way it has to be."
The Suns haven't experienced much success against the Magic of late, dropping five of six in the series - including three in a row by an average of 16.3 points. Phoenix has been handed four consecutive losses in Orlando.
- Sports & Recreation
- Phoenix Suns
- Hedo Turkoglu
- Orlando Magic