6:00 PM ET, March 10, 2013
Amway Center, Orlando, FL
In Round 3 the Pennsylvania native reminded the Sixers what his presence can bring to a game.
Nelson had 24 points and 10 assists, and Nikola Vucevic added 14 points and 17 rebounds as the Magic held off the Sixers in the fourth quarter to secure a 99-91 victory on Sunday night.
The win ended the Magic's seven-game home losing streak, their longest skid in Orlando since 2003-04. It also gives the Magic some momentum in advance of the Los Angeles Lakers' visit Tuesday, which will be Dwight Howard's first return to Orlando since he was traded this past summer.
As for Sunday, Nelson said that playing against the Sixers always seems to bring out some of his best basketball.
"I was told by some people in that organization that I wasn't good enough when I came out, so maybe I do have a little chip on my shoulder," he said. "But really I just try to help my team win."
Nelson's effort wasn't lost on his teammates.
"Jameer was huge," Vucevic said. "We need him to do that. He's the guy who's been here the longest. He knows this league. He's been to the finals. He's got experience. He knows how to close games out and we need him to do that."
Arron Afflalo and Tobias Harris added 17 and 15 points, respectively. The double-double was the 35th of the season for Vucevic, who was dealt to the Magic by Philadelphia as part of the multi-team Howard deal.
The loss was just the latest in what has been a steady decline by Philadelphia. The Sixers have dropped five straight and 13 in a row on the road.
"It definitely hurts to go out there and lose basketball games, but at the end of the day it happens," Young said. "Not every team is going to have a good season. We just have to try and take some positives out of it and just keep trying to figure it out."
After giving Charles Jenkins his first start at shooting guard on Friday since he came over from Golden State at the trade deadline, Sixers coach Doug Collins decided to start Wilkins a small forward and shift Evan Turner to shooting guard on Sunday.
Wilkins made the most of the opportunity, providing an early lift, knocking down open jumpers and getting baskets in the lane.
But Harris' second straight start at power forward also helped give a jolt to the Magic's offense, as he matched baskets with Philadelphia's Young throughout to help spread out the Sixers' defense.
"We go through slumps where we don't score," Sixers guard Jrue Holiday said. "We got up like 10 points on them and they came back and matched that. There are times we need to go on a scoring streak and I don't think we had it today."
The Magic led by a point entering the fourth quarter and it remained tight throughout.
They got a little separation on a 3-pointer by Nelson that gave the Magic a 91-87 lead with just over 3 minutes to play in the game.
Trailing 91-89, Holiday had a chance to tie it at the free throw line, but came up empty on both tries.
Afflalo then knocked down a jumper on the ensuing Magic touch to stretch their lead to four.
Both teams traded misses before Beno Udrih's picked off a pass by Wilkins, which eventually led to a 3 from the corner by Afflalo with less than a minute remaining.
Following a Philadelphia miss, Nelson hit a jumper that made it 98-91 and the Magic closed out the win at the foul line.
"Well, he made some big shots," Collins said. "I felt really bad for Damien because Damien really played his heart out for him to throw the ball away at the end. ... I thought we had some guys play very, very well, but we just have not found a way to finish games."
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said he hopes this is the start of his team protecting home court the rest of the season.
"I have made that a point to our guys," he said. "The fans have been unbelievable. ... It was good to give them a win. They deserve it."
The Magic improved to 13-10 when leading after three quarters. ... Young recorded his 16th double-double of the season. ... The unit that opened the game for Philadelphia was its 13th starting lineup of the season. ... Collins said the biggest change that he's seen in Vucevic's game since the Sixers dealt him to the Magic is as simple as him getting more playing time. "I saw him at draft camp and said, 'That's my guy," Collins said. "Skilled, big, strong, and got a good feel for the game. A great kid. I love Nik. When he got minutes for us last year he performed very well."
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 10: Head Coach Jacque Vaughn of the Orlando Magic gives direction against the Philadelphia...(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
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MVP: Jameer Nelson had seven assists in the first quarter but when the Magic needed a scorer, he was there. He hit five 3-pointers -- including four in the second half -- and finished with a team-high 24 points.
Defining moment: With a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Nelson saved the ball from going out of bounds and found Arron Afflalo in the corner for an open 3-pointer. He drilled it, giving the Magic a seven-point lead and clinching the victory.
That was crafty: Midway through the second quarter, Tobias Harris fed Nikola Vucevic with a behind-the-back pass and the Magic center finished with the slam. Orlando had 28 assists, none more impressive than that one.
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