Magic clinch sixth seed, lose Big Baby indefinitely
The Orlando Magic entered Wednesday’s matchup against the Charlotte Bobcats looking to end their current three game losing streak, and clinch the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
J.J. Redick led the way for the Magic, scoring a career-high 31 points, which included six three pointers as Orlando held off Charlotte 102-95 – handing the Bobcats their 22nd consecutive loss.
“We were so ready to play, our guys came out and I thought ball movement and everybody was sharp,” said Coach Stan Van Gundy. “It was a good win even though the team we’re playing is 50 games under .500.”
Ryan Anderson added 24 points of his own to go with his 13 rebounds and Jameer Nelson contributed with a near triple double scoring 11 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and dishing out nine assists before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
With the victory Orlando locks itself into the sixth spot in the Eastern conference playoff race. Orlando will now face a deep Indiana Pacers team in this year’s first round of the playoffs, beginning sometime this weekend in Indianapolis.
“Our playoff seeding or who we were going to play wasn’t on our minds at all; we just wanted to win a game because we haven’t won in a while,’’ said Magic guard Jason Richardson who finished with 17 points.
On the same night the Magic locked the sixth spot they also managed to take one step back at no fault of their own – this time losing another player to injury. The Magic, a team who have already lost their best player in Dwight Howard for the season to injury, also lost Glen “Big Baby” Davis after he sprained his right ankle in the first quarter of Wednesday night’s game.
A team official said x-rays showed no fractures to Davis’ ankle, but it is still unclear how much time he will miss.
Second year center Daniel Orton stepped up and played some big minutes off the bench for the Magic in Davis’ absence. Orton scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds in 22 minutes.
“It feels good to finally play, just to get the opportunity to play feels more amazing than anything,” said Orton. “I’m looking forward to the playoffs and doing the stuff the coaches ask me to do hopefully I can do it well, being able to know where to be on defense and just finishing up plays on offense.”
The Magic close out the regular season on Thursday when they travel to Memphis to play the Grizzlies. Van Gundy says the team will immediately begin preparing for the Pacers, Thursday during the morning walk through, and will likely rest his starters against Memphis.
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