The Orlando Magic got a win over one of the elite teams in the NBA without their second leading scorer, Vince Carter, when they defeated the Denver Nuggets 103-97 on Sunday night.
J.J. Redick did not exit the game after checking in with 10:25 to play in the first quarter.
Redick’s ability to stay on the floor for more minutes than any Magic player this season – he was out there for all 103 Magic points after coming in with Orlando down 2-0 – helped the Magic capture what coach Stan Van Gundy called “one of our best wins of the year.’’ Redick’s minutes were extended when Orlando lost Carter (sprained big toe) in the game’s first minute and were already without Mickael Pietrus (sprained ankle).
“At the six-minute timeout, Stan (Van Gundy) asked me if I needed a blow and I told him no. He said OK and that was the only discussion we had about (him coming out of the game),’’ Redick recalled. “The minutes weren’t a big problem. If we were playing a back-to-back I might have some trouble, but I’m fine.’’
John Denton offers his postgame analysis here.
Redick touched on his upcoming free agency.
“I won’t lie. I think about it often,” Redick said, standing alone in the hallway at Amway Arena. “I’m a planner. I think about the future.”
Redick said he’s only had two discussions this season with his agent, Arn Tellem, about the possibility of leaving Orlando. He said Magic General Manager Otis Smith has told him to play his game and everything will work out for the best.
“It’s a first for me [being a restricted free agent] so I don’t know what will happen,” Redick said. “It’s going to be a big summer for me, getting married and everything.”
Brian Schmitz has that story here.
Phillip Rossman-Reich also discussed Redick’s performance.
He really did look how he looked at Duke. Redick was curling off screen and hitting pull up jumpers in rhythm. Where he has gotten better is at catching defenders off balance running at him to the 3-point line and pump faking to drive in for the mid range jumper. He is pretty efficient at doing that and he had it working today.
What made Orlando most effective tonight, especially in the second half, was the team’s ball movement. There was a moment in the first half when the Magic were struggling to put the ball in the basket with the ball circling around the perimeter and not really getting inside. They led by one, but shot at around 44 percent.
You can find that here.
Nate Timmons of Denver Stiff also praised the play off J.J. Redick (and Ryan Anderson).
The problem today in Orlando … J.J. Redick and Ryan Anderson. After Vince Carter went down in the first two minutes of the game with an ankle injury, Redick stepped in and played the next 46 minutes without taking a break. The former Duke guard shot his way to 23 points on 8-15 shooting on the same day his alma-mater made a return to the Final Four for the first time since 2004.
Not to be outdone, Redick’s teammate Anderson went for 19 points on 7-8 shooting, but he did the bulk of his dirty work from beyond the arc going 4-5 from deep where he was rarely covered. It continues to amaze me that the Nuggets continue to lose track of three-point specialists and give dead-eye shooters exactly what they need … room to freaking shoot. Anderson burned the Nuggets again and again, yet still was allowed to take aim.
You can read his recap here.
Denver is rarely kept off the free throw line, but the Magic did an excellent job of keeping the Nuggets off the stripe.
“Aren’t they the leading free throw shooting team in the NBA?,” Magic power forward Ryan Anderson said. “I think they are. By a lot. That was our main focus, really. Not just eliminating them from the line, but playing strong defense at the same time. It’s tough sometimes because you never know which way the refs are going to go.”
As it turned out the refs let a lot of things go on both ends of the court. Still, the free-throw disparity was evident. The Magic shot 22 free throws while the Nuggets shot 11 — only four of which came in the first three quarters.
Josh Robbins has that story here.
The Nuggets have now lost four of their last five games.
“We tried to double Dwight (Howard) and they made us pay all night,” Billups said. “They basically have four shooters surrounding him. But that’s why they’re so good. They have a really good bench. Anderson is a very respectable player, and J.J. is playing great. Those two guys really hurt us.”
In acting coach Adrian Dantley’s eyes, effort was a problem.
“We talk about it all the time, second-chance points — they got 19 points off of second-chance points,” Dantley said. “We keep talking about offensive rebounds; they are one of the worst offensive rebounding teams, but whenever they needed a rebound they got one and scored on it.”
Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post has that story here.
Jameer Nelson played through a thumb injury Sunday.
Nelson then slipped his hand into a brace that keeps his thumb immobilized.
That should tell you about the discomfort Nelson experienced during Orlando’s 103-97 victory.
“It’s nothing new,” Nelson said. “I’ve just got to play through it. It’s just a little swollen.”
Nelson, who first jammed the thumb last Wednesday in Atlanta, didn’t let the injury stop him on Sunday. He scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half and made several key baskets down the stretch.
You can find that story here.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks and Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).