With Vince Carter (ankle) and Mickael Pietrus (flu-like symptoms) being scratched from the lineup just before tipoff — and Rashard Lewis (suspension) and Adonal Foyle (knee) missing for other reasons — the Orlando Magic used all nine of their active players in a rag-tag rotation on Sunday afternoon against the Toronto Raptors. Thanks to some splendid shooting and efficiency, the Magic were able to outscore the Raptors 125-116. Jameer Nelson (30 points), JJ Redick (27), Dwight Howard (24) and Ryan Anderson (20) carried the scoring load as the Magic built a 22-point first-half lead and were able to hold off a late charge from Chris Bosh and the Raptors.
1. JJ Redick played like a starting-caliber shooting guard. Maybe Redick just isn’t comfortable being a role player. In relief of Carter, Redick played more than anyone else in the game (44:50) and showed flashes of the all-American player he was at Duke. Redick went 5-for-8 from 3-point range on his way to a career-high 27 points, but it was more than that. He posted six rebounds, five assists, a steal and only one turnover, finishing with the game’s best +/- of 12. Redick proved on Sunday — even to the most passionate skeptics — that he belongs in the NBA.
2. Hedo Turkoglu played well, but he was kept in check. Turk likely isn’t having any regrets about today’s game, scoring 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He looked thin and in-shape. It’s easy to forget how fluid he is coming off the pick-and-roll and hitting that mid-range jumper — at times in the second half he looked really, really good.
3. The Magic shot the lights out; it was one of those games. Every so often, the Magic have a game where all the 3s seem to fall. When this happens, the Magic are nearly unbeatable and everybody talks about the team’s awesome ball movement. This was one of those games. The shots were going in tonight. There’s really no explanation, outside of that, A) the players were in rhythm and perhaps a bit more focused with so many starters missing, and B) the Raptors are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA.