The Orlando Magic have had plenty of naysayers over the past few months. With only four returning players from last year’s squad and a 37-year-old rookie head coach, Orlando was picked by Sports Illustrated to finish last in the Eastern Conference.
For at least one night, the Magic silenced those cynics, beating the Denver Nuggets 102-89 in their opening game of the season on Friday night at the Amway Center.
“It's exciting man, there's been a lot of change around here,” Magic guard Arron Afflalo said. “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.”
Glen Davis led Orlando (1-0) with 29 points and 10 rebounds, while J.J. Redick came off the bench to total 21 points, six assists, and four rebounds. E’Twaun Moore was the only other Magic player in double figures, finishing with 13 points off the bench, but nine different players scored for the hosts en route to the double-digit win.
Denver (0-2) was paced by Danilo Gallinari, who had 23 points and eight rebounds. Ty Lawson recorded 12 points and seven assists and Andre Miller had 11 points.
The Magic outperformed the Nuggets in almost every category, including field goal percentage and points in the paint. They shot nearly 49% from the field compared to just over 38% for the visitors and they outscored Denver 60-36 in the paint.
“I want to let everyone know I'm here,” Davis said. “I'm here to seize the moment. I'm here to step in the gaps. It was a good night.”
The only sour note was that Orlando lost forward Hedo Turkoglu to a broken left hand in the third quarter. The 12-year pro will miss at least four weeks, so the Magic will be forced to alter their starting lineup for a while.
Orlando hosts Phoenix on Sunday, with tip-off scheduled for 6:00 pm on FS Florida.
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