Brian Schmitz Magic Insider
7:54 PM PST, February 13, 2013
From start to finish, it was the worst day of the season for the Magic, which is saying something.
On Wednesday, Hedo Turkoglu was suspended by the league for using steroids, embarrassing a Magic franchise trying to do everything right after the Dwight caper. Then, in the double whammy, the Magic closed the night by being humiliated by the Atlanta Hawks, 108-76.
It’s cruel and unusual punishment for fans to be subjected to such a dreadful effort heading into the all-star break.
Only two starters broke into double figures, with Andrew Nicholson and Jameer Nelson scoring 10 point apiece. Nik Vucevic was virtually invisible.
Neither Arron Afflalo (nine points) or super sub J.J. Redick (eight points, zero assists) could provide a spark as Orlando was crushed on the offensive boards, 17-7.
“We got punked,” J.J. Redick said.
The Magic (15-37) just don’t need the all-star break to recharge. They need the season to end as quickly as possible. They now have the second-worst record in the NBA, behind only the perennially pitiful Charlotte Bobcats.
Against the Hawks, the Magic looked like a team that already had gone on break – beaten and broken after losing 24 of their last 27 games.
Coach Jacque Vaughn will have a challenge keeping his players from falling victim to the drain of a hopeless season.
“This is your livelihood and me, speaking for myself when I played, I took it home also and it was part of me and hopefully, that’s the kind of guys that we have in the locker room,” Vaughn said. “That they care about it, that it means something and this is not the territory that we want to continue to live in.
“And it’s OK to not accept it at the end of the day. For us as a team, we just want to continue to push forward in a positive way. That’s the best thing for us.”Brian Schmitz is the Magic Insider for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@magicinsider.
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