PHOENIX — The
But perhaps something profound occurred out West, anyway.
By winning three of five games, and defying the public's expectations, the Magic returned to Central Florida with heightened self-confidence and an increased sense of unity.
"We are a young team that is learning through experience, from the rookies to the coaches," power forward
" 'Together.' It's what we say every day in the huddle. We're starting to live it every single day now, and being on the road brings it together even more, because now you're in a building with 20,000 other people, and they're against you. So that mentality has to spread, not only away, but at home."
The Magic concluded their nine-day trip Sunday night with a 98-90 victory over the
Players offered telling reactions after the win over Phoenix.
Although they acknowledged that it was important to finish the trip with a winning record —
The losses in Salt Lake City and Sacramento were close, winnable games, and Orlando players felt they should have won them.
That might be the best indicator of the Magic's overall attitude these days.
"I think we made a little bit of a switch in that Utah game," Redick said.
"That was a game that typically we had been blown out in, where we get down 13 points in the second half and we had folded. There were two games against Brooklyn where we had kind of folded and a couple of other games — San Antonio another example — where we had folded.
"So that was a step forward. Frankly, we were in a position to win that game [over Utah]. We were in a position to win against Sacramento."
The Magic recovered from early game struggles.
They fell behind during Sunday's first quarter by as many as nine points and trailed at the end of the first period for the 16th time in 20 games this season.
But they fought back.
"That's been growth for us," coach
Even Vaughn would say that, with such a young team, the team will encounter difficulties.
Young players experience plenty of valleys during the course of an 82-game season. On Sunday, however, power forward
Additional tests loom ahead. On Wednesday, the Magic will host the
Now, though, the Magic have more confidence than they had just a few weeks ago.
"We can take a lot of positives out of this whole road trip," point guard