Observations and opinions after the Baby Magic – featuring rookies Andrew Nicholson and Maurice Harkless – beat Golden State for the second time this season:  

Can the 9-13 Magic get to .500 before Christmas?


After beating the red-hot Warriors on Friday night, the Magic take on the Charlotte Bobcats, Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors.

Those teams are all in their weight class.

The Bobcats, Wizards and Raptors are among some of the worst teams in a league full of bad teams.

Even if the Magic don‘t win all those games, they should get at least within shouting distance of .500.

Now I ask you, Magic: Is this any way to win a draft lottery?....

….Coach Jacque Vaughn kept Harkless in the lineup despite his recent struggles and the club’s habit to start slowly. Looking lost and lacking confidence at times, Harkless was a little more involved, finishing with seven points, seven rebounds, two steals and four blocks. He played 25 minutes --- his second-highest total of the season – and highest in the past seven games. As I’ve written, the Magic need to make him a fixture even when injured Hedo Turkoglu returns (Turk isn’t ever getting four blocks.) They just need to keep spoon-feeding Moe offensively….

….Nicholson played aggressively. He finished with four blocks to go along with 15 points and nine boards in nearly 25 minutes. We are no longer surprised with Andrew’s impact on a game. Second-year point guard E'Twaun Moore had 15 points and five assists. Center Nik Vucevic, also in his second year as a pro, completed the night for the Baby Magic, posting 12 points and 17 rebounds in 34 minutes.

…At one point in the first half, J.J. Redick went bonkers. Frustrated after Big Baby Davis forced a shot and turned over the ball, Redick stormed back to the bench, repeatedly pushing his arms in front of him as if to say, “Pass the ball!” (Which he later confirmed). He then appeared to continue his rant in the huddle. Tough-love leadership from a veteran. ..

…After a series of slow starts, the Magic came out and fast for a 19-14 lead. Redick said that player movement – one early play called for Harkless to cut to the basket --- was the key instead “of running four straight isolation plays. That doesn’t create any energy for you.”…

One funny moment: Redick, according to Vaughn, had been teasing Nicholson about not passing the ball. He passed it to Redick against the Warriors, but wound up hitting J.J. in the head. "He's improving," cracked Vaughn.


Brian Schmitz is the Magic Insider for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him at bschmitz@tribune.com. And you can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@magicinsider.