Magic's Jameer Nelson misses his third consecutive game

LOS ANGELES — Point guard Jameer Nelson missed his third consecutive game when the Orlando Magic faced the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.

Nelson and coach Jacque Vaughn said Nelson has a sore left knee.

"It's getting better," Nelson said before tipoff. "The swelling is starting to go down and everything. So it's feeling better."

Inbound issues
The Magic continue to have problems making inbounds passes in crucial late-game situations.

The issue has plagued them much of this calendar year, and it recurred again late in their heartbreaking 89-88 loss Saturday night to the Utah Jazz.

With 1.6 seconds left, and the Magic trailing 89-88, the Magic prepared to make an inbounds pass within the Jazz's defensive zone. Kyle O'Quinn attempted a pass to Nik Vucevic, but Derrick Favors knocked it out of bounds. Favors' deflection left Orlando with just four-tenths of a second and forced Orlando to rush its final shot, which Arron Afflalo missed.

"I think as a team and an organization, we're to the point where we're comfortable with Kyle inbounding the basketball," Vaughn said.

"There are stages to this thing. It doesn't just happen. I've been around some great teams, and they've had great players on the teams who not all the time did what the coach [drew up]; if it needed to be inbounded, they got it inbounded somehow, some way. As you continue to grow, the experiences on the floor will put you in a position to get the ball inbounds and get it where you want to and get a shot and get a great screen and all of the above."

O'Quinn only recently became the team's designated late-game inbounder.

On Jan. 2, Tobias Harris failed to inbound the ball within five seconds with 13.9 seconds left in regulation against the Cleveland Cavaliers — even though the Magic had two timeouts in reserve — and the mistake helped lead to an 87-81 overtime loss.

On Feb. 7, the Magic were trailing the Oklahoma City Thunder by three points with 1:20 to go in the game when Harris didn't inbound the ball within five seconds and no one called a timeout. The miscue resulted in an Orlando turnover, but the Magic won the game anyway.

On Feb. 9 against the Indiana Pacers, Victor Oladipo committed an offensive foul as he attempted to free himself to receive an inbounds pass with 37.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But that wasn't the only bungled inbounds play Orlando had. With the Magic clinging to a one-point lead with 9.0 seconds remaining, Vucevic couldn't locate an open man and attempted to throw the ball off David West's leg; the ball sailed between West's legs, wound up in the hands of Paul George, who took a potential game-winning shot that missed.

Oladipo's fourth
The loss to the Jazz obscured a strong fourth quarter by Oladipo.

In 6 minutes, 25 seconds of playing time, the rookie scored seven points, grabbed three rounds and tallied an assist without a turnover.

His point total included a stepback jumper from 18 feet that put Orlando ahead 83-81 with 29.9 seconds to play.

"I just tried to go hard right and come back and just get to my sweet spot at the elbow, where I feel like I can hit a shot," Oladipo said.

Funny statement
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni was asked about a conversation in which Nick Young said to teammate Pau Gasol their team needs to finish strong to avoid being the worst team in franchise history.

D'Antoni deadpanned: "They probably should've had the conversation a lot earlier." Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.

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