What’s the difference lately?
Ronald Glen Davis.
(I forget his real first name is Ronald, too.)
And when Big Baby gets his NBA legs under him fully, he might make an even bigger difference.
Remember last season?
The post-Dwight Magic were a surprising 12-13, thanks to a career-year start by Davis. Then he hurt his shoulder, then he broke his foot, and the Magic finished with the league’s worst record.
It was not a coincidence.
Take this season now. The Magic climbed to 6-9 after making a meal out of the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Davis had 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting and five boards and a block, making his second consecutive start.
The Sixers couldn't handle Davis and center Nik Vucevic down low.
"We couldn't guard them," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said.
Davis played 34 minutes against the Sixers --- a season high since he returned from a 10-month layoff to face the Miami Heat last Saturday night.
In that game against the Heat, Davis scored 20 points off the bench, including a late game-tying 3-point play. The Heat escaped on King James’ jumper.
Davis didn’t have much the next night at home against the Phoenix Suns (six points and four rebounds but did have four assists) in just 22 minutes).
Two nights later in Atlanta, he played 32 minutes in the Magic’s rout of the Hawks. His numbers weren’t great (eight points on nine shots and eight boards), but what’s interesting is the praise teammate Arron Afflalo showered on him for playing team basketball.
Davis, like Afflalo, likes to shoot and score. The Magic have been sharing the ball better, and Davis and Afflalo can set the tone.
There’s no question that Davis – the team’s best interior defender, along with veteran Jason Maxiell – can team with Vucevic to make the Magic harder to score on inside.
“I’m still trying to find my legs,” Davis said. “It’s a process. I’m not sitting out a whole lot. I’m really proud of myself.”
Davis said he’s aware that he's joining the lineup with the Magic season already in progress, having missed the first 11 games.
“The main thing with the guys is, can they trust me to be in the right spot?” he said.
It looks as if the Magic can.