The New Jersey Nets’ Damion James outdueled the Orlando Magic’s Joe Crawford in an exciting, high-scoring contest Wednesday evening, scoring 30 points to Crawford’s 29 in the Nets’ 94-90 win. James scored 21 points on 20 shots yesterday, with his jumper eluding him. Well, he found it today, and mixed his perimeter and driving attacks well in the highest individual scoring output so far this week. Crawford, the first Magic perimeter player to truly catch fire at all this week, scored more efficiently than James did, shooting 10-of-13 from the field. But he made two key errors down the stretch. First, he missed a free throw that would have tied the game at 92. On the Magic’s final halfcourt possession, he passed up a wide-open three-point attempt from the left corner, faked, and stepped on the sideline out of bounds as he tried to drive, turning the ball over.
Patrick Ewing had a chance to send the game to overtime with a three-pointer in the waning seconds, but could not get a shot off in time as Williams trapped him in the back court, forcing him to change directions.
Nets point guard Terrence Williams added 22 points (albeit on eight-of-26 shooting), four rebounds, and six assists in James’ aid. Third overall draft pick Derrick Favors had another mediocre game. A drop-step move that he finished with his left hand raised some eyebrows, but he committed seven fouls and didn’t impact the game.
Orlando’s Paul Davis once again outshone 29th overall draft selection Daniel Orton at center. Davis scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 18 bench minutes, and was active diving to the basket. Credit point guard Curtis Stinson, making his first start, for finding Davis and the Magic’s other bigs in what was a decidedly more pick-and-roll-oriented offensive attack than in previous days. Stinson led all players with seven assists to just two turnovers.
Orton played 17 ineffective minutes. He did not attempt a field goal or grab a rebound. He finished with four points, an assist, a steal, a block, four fouls, and three turnovers.
The Magic shot a staggering 52% from the field and 46.7% from three-point range. But their 15 turnovers cost them dearly, as New Jersey only committed six. As a result, the Nets had 20 more shot attempts. That advantage was enough to leave Orlando as the only winless team remaining, but barely.