Thursday, May 24, 2018
Sports

Howard-less Magic wins for new coach

ORLANDO — The kind of team the Magic eventually wind up becoming this season is a long way from being determined.

But after a summer of massive changes from top to bottom, for one night at least, all the uncertainty about the franchise's long-term future was an afterthought.

On this night, the Magic was plenty happy with what it has.

Buoyed by Glen Davis' 29 points and 10 rebounds, and J.J. Redick's 21 points off the bench, the Magic sprinted out to an early lead and held off the Nuggets 102-89 Friday night.

Danilo Gallinari led the Nuggets with 23 points, with Ty Lawson chipping in 12. But Denver struggled offensively for the second straight game, unable to dig out of a 20-point first-half hole.

"Amazing, to get our first win in this fashion," said Magic guard Arron Afflalo, who was traded to Orlando during the summer as part of the Dwight Howard multi­team deal and finished with seven points against his former team. "Obviously Glen and J.J. stepped up, but it was just a real inspired team effort."

Afterward, the team presented Jacque Vaughn with the game ball to commemorate his first NBA victory as a head coach.

Friday marked the Magic's season opener and the first one in eight seasons without Howard, the all-star center who was traded to the Lakers.

"It's exciting, man, there's been a lot of change around here," 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 going to continue to take it one game at a time."

Vaughn thanked his team in the locker room before the game for working so hard to this point.

"It was a good feeling," the rookie coach said after the game. "That's the progressive process that we're talking about, that it goes both ways. I'll give and tonight they gave as well."

Orlando did suffer a setback. Starting forward Hedo Turkoglu left the game in the third quarter with a broken left hand. Vaughn said he would be evaluated again today.

The Nuggets dropped to 0-2 on their season-opening three-game road trip. Much like its opening loss at Philadelphia earlier this week, Denver struggled shooting the ball and was stymied by an early deficit.

"The first half we weren't very good at either end of the court," Denver coach George Karl said. "In Philly, we didn't make shots, but we played great defense and stayed in the game because of that. The second half I thought we played with a lot of energy, and then you get down 20 points, that energy runs out of gas a little bit."

Orlando had stretches of offensive crispness both in transition and in the halfcourt, outscoring Denver 60-36 in the paint.

"I want to let everyone know I'm here," Davis said. "I'm here to seize the moment."

Turkoglu's injury means Vaughn will have to get creative to fill his slot in the starting lineup, with no true small forward healthy enough to immediately fill in. Rookie Maurice Harkless, who was acquired in the Howard deal, would seem to be the obvious candidate. But Vaughn said that he only recently was cleared for full-contact practice after sports hernia surgery. He is day to day.

DENVER (89): Gallinari 5-14 11-14 23, Faried 1-3 0-0 2, Koufos 3-6 1-3 7, Lawson 6-15 0-0 12, Iguodala 3-10 2-2 9, McGee 2-5 0-0 4, Brewer 3-9 0-0 8, Chandler 3-10 2-4 9, A.Miller 5-8 0-0 11, Fournier 0-2 0-0 0, Hamilton 1-2 2-4 4. Totals 32-84 18-27 89.

ORLANDO (102): Turkoglu 3-4 0-0 6, Davis 13-25 3-5 29, Vucevic 3-6 0-0 6, Nelson 2-9 4-4 9, Afflalo 3-13 1-2 7, Redick 7-11 4-5 21, McRoberts 4-4 1-2 9, Moore 6-10 0-0 13, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Nicholson 1-3 0-0 2, O'Quinn 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 42-86 13-18 102.

Denver 18 19 31 21— 89

Orlando 29 29 20 24— 102

3-Point GoalsDenver 7-26 (Brewer 2-6, Gallinari 2-9, A.Miller 1-1, Iguodala 1-2, Chandler 1-3, Fournier 0-2, Lawson 0-3), Orlando 5-15 (Redick 3-4, Moore 1-3, Nelson 1-4, Turkoglu 0-1, Afflalo 0-3). ReboundsDenver 54 (Iguodala, Gallinari 8), Orlando 56 (Davis 10). AssistsDenver 22 (Lawson 7), Orlando 24 (Nelson 7). Total FoulsDenver 17, Orlando 24. A18,846.

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