After missing two games with a hip injury, Jameer Nelson returned to the starting lineup for the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. He provided some much needed offense for a struggling Magic team, but it was not enough, as Orlando has now lost seven straight games and are now 12-20 on the season.
The Magic hung tough against a short-handed Chicago Bulls team, but fell short, losing 96-94. Nelson poured in 32 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Nelson shot an impressive 11-20 from the field, a perfect 4-4 from the charity strike, and 6-9 from beyond the arc. The only negative you can take from Nelson’s performance last night was his four turnovers.
Nelson’s 32 points tied a career-high and was his highest posted total this season. After being down by as much as 18 in the 3rd quarter, Nelson led the charge for the Magic, outscoring the Bulls 23-14 in the fourth quarter. Nelson actually had a chance to tie the game with 5.9 seconds remaining, putting up a leaning 12-footer, but it went off the glass and Luol Deng corralled the rebound to ice the game.
Orlando’s current 7-game losing streak is the franchise’s longest losing streak since February 2006, where they lost eight consecutive games in a 16-day span. Orlando’s has played tough despite the poor record, as five of their six losses have been by four points or less.
After the game, Nelson kept a positive attitude despite the Magic’s losing streak, “Nobody should hang their heads, it’s not like we’re going out there and we’re not playing hard. If we were doing that as a group, I think then you can get more frustrated and that’s when pointing fingers happens. One thing we’re not doing is pointing the finger, and we shouldn’t because we’re in it together.”
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