Glen Davis has always played with a certain amount of reckless abandon. His driving into the lane looking for contact and a chance to put a shot up at the rim is nothing new. Seeing Davis on the floor, writhing in pain and unable to collect himself and get back up was the concerning part.
With the Magic on their way to a sometimes comfortable, sometimes uneasy 90-83 victory over the Wizards at Amway Center on Wednesday, Emeka Okafor came down hard with a foul across Davis' arms with 47.8 seconds left and a six-point lead. The blow knocked Davis to the ground and had him holding his shoulder and cradling his arms as he finally got up and left the floor.
Davis went to the locker room and presumably was undergoing an initial evaluation. The extent of his injury was not known by the end of the night.
It was an ugly way to end an ugly night for the Magic.
"You never want to see your teammate hurt," J.J. Redick said. "I deeply care for Glen. I hope it’s not anything serious. Just unfortunate and definitely does take away from the good feeling of winning."
The Magic seemed to have control for most of the contest, battling away some lax defense early on to take as much as a 13-point lead at times in both the first and second halves. The Magic got the ball moving in the first half and when they cut down on turnovers were able to score with relative easy. Orlando shot 51.3 percent in the first half and made 5 of 8 3-pointers. Turnovers and a healthy dose of paint scoring from Nene made it a two-point halftime lead.
The third quarter, it would seem was where the Magic would blow this game open.
Orlando started moving the ball and hitting shots, but more importantly cut off Washington's offense, doing a better job defending the 3-point line and slowing down the Washington in the paint, allowing only two points in the paint during Washington's 13-point third quarter.
"We came out in the third quarter and cared more about me than we," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "Who's getting shots? I need shots. And I think we scored 13. Did we fight back and get back in it? Yes, but we're not good enough to overcome those things. We're not good enough and we can't play that way."
The Magic seemed ready to hit cruise control though as the rest of the game was an offensive nightmare and Nene went on to score eight of his 20 points to bring the Wizards perilously close. After dishing out six assists on 10 made field goals in the third quarter, Orlando managed only two assists in the fourth while shooting 4 for 19 (21.1 percent) from the floor.
If it were not for strong defense and taking relatively good care of the ball late, the Wizards may have actually came back and made things much more interesting much sooner.
As several players said, there were plenty of good looks that were not falling for the Magic in the final 12 minutes. What was important to note was the Magic's focus did not wane on the defensive end much and the Magic made sure they stayed in the lead.
"We had an opportunity to step on the gas a little bit there in the fourth quarter," Arron Afflalo said. "Maybe some guys are not there in the fourth quarter at that time. Immediately, the health of teammates is obviously most important. We’ll learn tomorrow or whenever how he’s doing."
The what-ifs may plague the Magic if it turns out that Davis will be out an extended period of time. There is no doubt that Davis plays a large role on this team, even if he is struggling from the floor like he did Wednesday night.
Then again, it turned out in the end that every player was struggling from the floor in some respect.
J.J. Redick led the Magic with 17 points, scoring nine on three 3-pointers in the second quarter to get the Magic into the lead for the first time. E'Twaun Moore also came off the bench to score 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Davis had 12 points on 6-for-18 shooting and nine rebounds. Arron Afflalo scored 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting as well.
It was not an efficient night for the Magic's starters as they shot 21 for 56 (37.5 percent) collectively. Tonight it was definitely the bench and the energy they brought that helped Orlando weather the storm early on and helped close the game late.
"Outside of the lapse in the fourth quarter a little bit, which wasn’t so much defensively, we just missed a lot of shots, makeable shots that maybe could have stretched the game out and put the game away sooner rather than later," Afflalo said. "Outside of that, I thought the focus was there for the most part."
The Magic had the focus to deal with the Wizards and whatever challenge they brought. The game was never seriously in doubt, even when Washington closed within four points with 2:53 left and with Orlando continuing to clang shots. The Wizards did not score another point from that point onward and the Magic secured the win thanks to their defense, which is quickly becoming this team's mainstay identity.
Thoughts though after the game remained with Davis. Redick said he gave Davis a hug and that Davis looked like a player who was "worried."
Again, there was no confirmation or update except that Davis injured his left shoulder. His status will not be made clear until he is examined again Thursday.
Until then, the Magic have a win to stew on as they fly up to Toronto. Perhaps with another lesson learned in this great team-building experiment.
"A little different position for us tonight," Jacque Vaughn said. "We were up 12-13 in the first half and so you know the season offers different adversity, and, for a coach, that's a great teaching point for us is that we want to be in situation like that, where we are up 12 or 13 and can we continue to, our focus, can it continue to be a consistent effort and it was a great test for us tonight and luckily the good guys won."