Magic grind out 9-point win over Bobcats
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn wasn't sure what to expect from his team Wednesday night, on a six-game losing streak and at the end of an 11-day, six-game road trip.
He wound up getting a gutsy defensive performance, a balanced offense, and ultimately a 92-83 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Guard Jameer Nelson and forward Glen Davis led the way with 17 points each, center Nikola Vucevic returned to provide a double-double and an emotional spark, and the Magic held the Bobcats to just 36.9 percent shooting from the field.
To Vaughn, it was a performance with a lot of heart.
"I think there was some individual pride out there tonight," Vaughn said. "It's a game I've seen before in my career where a team at the end of a road trip might not fight. But our guys, there was no consideration of that. They came and they wanted to get a win tonight."
The victory moved the Magic to 7-15 and was just their second road win of the season.
"We talk about not skipping steps and that's what this thing is all about," Vaughn said. "When you come with an approach and a fight of a competitive nature and you give what you have that day -- that's all we ask, give what you've got -- then you put yourself in a position to win. It was good to see our guys rally around each other tonight."
"It was a good win for us, especially at the end of a road trip," said Vucevic, who had missed the previous four games with an ankle injury. "It would have been easy for us to give in and think about going home, but we really stuck together. When you're on a six-game losing streak it's not easy to stick together, but we did that and we played very good basketball. It wasn't pretty. It was kind of a grind. But we played well on the defensive end and that's what you've got to do."
Nelson came up huge down the stretch, after the Magic watched a nine-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle to four in the final two minutes.
Nelson's 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining pushed the lead to 86-79. He then hit a driving layup with 42 seconds left to push the lead back to seven, and then he hit added two free throws with 31.2 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
"Overall, we wanted to attack early and get them in pick and rolls," Vaughn said. "Jameer at the end of the game had some great decisions."
Nelson also finished with seven rebounds and six assists. Davis also had 12 rebounds in addition to his 17 points. Vucevic finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds after having a double-double in the first half. The Magic also got 16 points from forward Arron Affalo, and 10 points each from guards Victor Olapido and E'Twaun Moore and forward Andrew Nicholson.
"We needed this big-time," Davis said. "We're a good team. We just need to get healthy. You look at what Nick did out there tonight, we've been missing that. He loosens everything up in the paint and that helps me. And then Jameer, you look at the way he played -- that's our team. We're a good team, we've just got to give ourselves a chance and stay healthy. I think we're going to be OK. It's a good confidence builder for us going home."
The Bobcats were out of sync most of the night, particularly the guard duo of Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson. Henderson finished 3 of 14 from the field for 12 points, and Walker was 4 of 18 for 10 points. Walker had scored 31 in Charlotte's win over Golden State on Monday.
"The offense just wasn't there tonight," Henderson said. "I don't think particularly we got bad shots, it's just that they didn't fall. When you start the game kinda slow you always feel like you can pick it up at some point, especially with guys who know how to score. You've just got to work through it. But it just never turned into that kind of game."
The Bobcats had a two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 10-12.
NOTES: The Bobcats made a roster move on Wednesday, signing G Chris Douglas-Roberts and waiving F James Southerland. Douglas-Roberts has been in the D-League with Texas this season, but the four-year veteran has had stints previously with the Nets, Bucks and Mavericks. Southerland, an undrafted rookie, had appeared in just one game for the Bobcats. ... Bobcats coach Steve Clifford was a Magic assistant from 2007-12. ... The Bobcats were without C Bismack Biyombo (ankle), F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (hand) and C Brendan Haywood (foot). ... The Bobcats will unveil the new Hornets logo at halftime of their Dec. 21 home game against Utah. Owner Michael Jordan will do the honors. The club has already announced that the colors will be teal, purple and light blue. ... The Bobcats were winding up a three-game homestand and will hit the road for a game at Indiana on Friday. Then they're back home to face the Lakers on Saturday. ... The Magic will return home to face Cleveland on Friday.