With a mere 47.8 seconds remaining before the team would extend it’s season high win streak to four, the Orlando Magic got hit with the injury bug again. Forward Glen Davis, one of the teams captains and the vocal and emotional lead for the team, was fouled hard by Emeka Okafor of the Washington Wizards. Davis suffered a sprained left shoulder and was listed as out for 4-6 weeks.
When the buzzer sounded at the end of the game, the Magic walked off the court victorious. That victory was the last for the team who went through turmoil all of last season with the Dwight Howard Saga.
After Davis was injured, the Magic encountered their first three point or less game of the season, losing to the Toronto raptors 93-90. Their woes continued and the close losses started to pile up, losing their next two to the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Hornets by a combined seven points. After blow out’s at the hands of Washington and Toronto, the Magic fought hard and found themselves on the losing end of games to the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls. Both losses came by two points.
The seven game losing skid is Orlando’s longest of the season, and longest since the team endured a five game skid in early November. The Magic have struggled at times on both ends of the floor without Davis in the lineup.
The biggest impact on the team with Davis being out has been their defense. Over the seven games without Davis in the line up, the Magic have given up 100 points or more three times. The three consecutive games of 100 points or more given up was a first in a span of 12 games, nine of which Davis played in.
Also of concern for the Magic men, without Davis the team had seen it’s defensive efficiency ranking fall from eighth best in the league, to 12th giving up 101.8 points per 100 possessions on the season. While Davis is not a premier low post defender, like Dwight Howard was, his willingness to be physical and fight for everything inside helped bring the defense up.
While their struggles on the defensive side of the ball have been there, without Davis in the lineup, the Orlando offense has seen a pick up in their offensive efficiency. With Davis in the lineup the Magic struggled on offense, sometimes mightily, ranking 29th of 30 teams in offensive efficiency. Coming into the teams game with the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, the Magic ranked middle of the pack, 15th, in offensive efficiency without Davis.
Before going down with the injury, Davis was enjoying a career season across the board. Davis was seeing career highs in points with 16, rebounds with 7.9, assists with 1.8, steals with 1 and blocks with .7 per game.
Davis was, is and will continue to be a focal part of the Magic’s team and offense once he is able to return to the court. Davis currently holds the Magic’s highest usage rate at 25.8 percent, and has the third lowest defensive rating of players who play major minutes for the team at 102.
Though Davis could be considered a “ball stopper” with his high usage rate and relatively low true shooting percentage, 48.8 percent fifth lowest on the team, Davis takes care of the ball sporting a 10.9 turnover percentage. His low turnover percentage ranks him second on the team.
While Davis remains out of the Magic's lineup, rookie Andrew Nicholson will continue to lead a cast of players to fill in for Davis. The other players joining Nicholson will be second year forward Gustavo Ayon and forward Josh McRoberts.
Davis has returned to practice for the team on a non-contact basis. After the teams practice on Thursday Davis was seen shooting by himself, the first step before his return. Davis must rehab and restrengthen the shoulder before he is able to return to the court and bang in the paint for the struggling Magic.
Coach Jacque Vaughn had his Magic team rolling, clicking on all cylinders until Davis went down. Now desperate to win a game, the Magic anxiously await the return of Davis to get their engine running at full steam again.