Morning Shootaround: Bottoming out

Magic lose as Nelson sits
Mavericks 108, Magic 100

Let the accusations of tanking begin in Orlando.

Willie J. Allen, Jr./AP/Albany Times UnionThe Magic's interesting near-.500 start took a significant hit Saturday night at Amway Center. The belief that the Magic are playing for the Draft Lottery are sure to get louder and more vocal after the Magic sat Jameer Nelson in favor of rookie Victor Oladipo for the entire fourth quarter.

Orlando continued to fight, trying to erase an early deficit at home. Monta Ellis scored 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki and DeJuan Blair each had 18 points.

The question is why in a close game the Magic decided to sit Nelson who had 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Victor Oladipo, for comparison, had 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting and six assists. The big number for him was his nine turnovers, including four in the fourth quarter when the game really mattered.

There is certainly going to be a time for Oladipo to learn and develop. Sitting the veteran point guard is sure to raise some questions. Especially since this might have been one of Nelson's beter performances in the early part of the season.

Pistons interestedin Rondo?
Pistons vs. Lakers, 9:30 p.m.

The rumor mill is already beginning with Rajon Rondo. Go ahead and list the Pistons as one of the big-time suitors to try and acquire the Celtics all-star point guard. David Mayo of MLive.com believes the Pistons and Joe Dumars will continue to have discussions with Danny Ainge regarding Rajon Rondo. That is even with the Brandon Knight-for-Brandon Jennings trade earlier. Detroit seems determined to make this team a real contender in the East.

Pelicans offense explodes in Anderson's return
Pelicans 135, 76ers 98

New Orleans got a major offensive weapon back into the lineup Saturday night. And it paid immediate dividends. Ryan Anderson scored 26 points and made six 3-pointers in his return as the Pelicans scored 135 points and shot 60.5 percent from the floor. Anthony Davis had a monster game too with 13 points, nine rebounds and eight blocks. The Sixers got nothing going defensively and their dream start seems to be crashing back to Earth.

Undermanned Nets fall short
Clippers 110, Nets 103

The Nets were not the Nets on Saturday night. Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Paul Pierce and Brook Lopez all sat out with various injuries. Still this undermanned Brooklyn team fought hard and had a solid lead against Los Angeles. The Clippers though fought back and proved to be the more talented and better team. Blake Griffin scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to key the Clippers comeback win. 

LeBron powers Heat past 'Cats
Heat 97, Bobcats 81

LeBron James will do LeBron James things often. And often teams like the Bobcats are not going to be able to do much about it. LeBron James had 30 points 13-for-18 shooting and seven assists as the Heat easily waltzed to a 97-81 victory in Charlotte. The Bobcats got 22 points from Kemba Walker but shot worse than 35 percent from the floor against the Heat's stellar defense.

Bulls hand Pacers first loss
Bulls 110, Pacers 94

The Pacers dreams of being 82-0 are over. Not that it was ever really possible knowing the realities of an NBA regular season. The fact that it came on a Saturday night against their biggest division rivals probably says more. Luol Deng scored 23 points and Derrick Rose had 20 as the Bulls shot 50.6 percent from the floor and 11 for 19 from beyond the arc. All five Pacers scored in double figures, but much of that came in the fourth quarter of a 30-point game.

Thunder run past Bucks
Thunder 92, Bucks 79

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant put on a show for Milwaukee in their lone appearance in Wisconsin this season. Westbrook scored 26 points and Durant added 24 points in a grind-it-out win over the Bucks. Milwaukee got 22 points from O.J. Mayo but struggled to do much else offensively.

Jason Thompson keeps starting
Grizzlies vs. Kings, 6 p.m. 

The Kings have been talking about changing up their starting lineup for a better part of a week. One guy who seems to have his spot firmly entrenched is Jason Thompson. No matter what the Kings try to do, Thompson seems to always find himself in the starting lineup time and time again. Thompson has started in just two of the team's eight games.

Casey believes Raptors ahead of last year
Trail Blazers vs. Raptors, 1 p.m.

The Raptors might be sitting at 4-6, but coach Dwane Casey still believes the team is ahead of last year's schedule. Then again, Toronto did start out 4-19 last year. The Raptors have some incresed talent for sure with Rudy Gay playing his first full season in Toronto and Jonas Valanciunas really blossoming. But this Raptors team wants to make the Playoffs. That goal still seems far out there.

Splash brothers crush Jazz
Warriors 102, Jazz 88

Golden State put all five starters into double figures including 25 from Klay Thompson in an easy victory over the now 1-10 Jazz. Stephen Curry added 15 points and 11 assists too as Golden State easily won. The Warriors shot 51.3 percent from the floor in the easy win. Utah got 17 points from Derrick Favors.

Howard evades free throw woes
Rockets 122, Nuggets 111

In a close game, the Nuggets tried to send Dwight Howard to the free throw line to make him miss. The move backfired considerably as Howard made 12 of his 19 free throw attempts on his way to 25 points on six field goals. The Rockets offensive firepower provided the surge to force the Nuggets into that strategy to keep it close. It failed miserably, obviously.

Timberwolves beat Celtics
Timberwolves 106, Celtics 88

The Timberwolves got big efforts from their big players to get to an easy win over the Celtics at home on Saturday. Kevin Love scored 23 points and added 12 rebounds and Nikola Pekovic had 20 and 12 himself. Kevin Martin also scored 20 points. Avery Bradley scored 27 points for the Celtics in the defeat.

Irving erupts in OT
Cavaliers 103, Wizards 96, OT

The lesson might be not to make Kyrie Irving miss game-winning shots. The Wizards stripped him of that opportunity. Then he scored nine of his career-high-tying 41 points in overtime to give the Cavaliers a seven-point overtime victory. Bradley Beal scored 28 points and Nene had 24 points in the loss.

Knicks booed as Hawks win
Hawks 110, Knicks 90

The Knicks lost their fifth straight home game and faced a rain of boos for the loss. Carmelo Anthony was particularly unhappy too. His 23 points were not anywhere near enough as New York looks pretty lost. All five Hawks scorers scored in double figures led by 16 points from Jeff Teague.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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