Redskins

Davis scores 29, Magic hold off Nuggets 102-89

201211021944710834376-p2.jpeg

Davis scores 29, Magic hold off Nuggets 102-89

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Glen Davis scored 29 points, J.J. Redick added 21 and the Orlando Magic sprinted out to an early lead before holding off the Denver Nuggets 102-89 Friday night.

Danilo Gallinari led the Nuggets with 23 points, with Ty Lawson chipping in 12. But Denver struggled offensively, unable to dig out of a 20-point first-half hole.

Friday marked the Magic's season-opener and first one in eight seasons without All-Star Dwight Howard, who was traded this summer in a multi-team deal involving Denver. The win was also new Magic coach Jacque Vaughn's first regular-season NBA victory.

Orlando did suffer a setback, though, with forward Hedo Turkoglu leaving the game with a broken left hand.

The Nuggets dropped to 0-2 on their season-opening three-game road trip.

Denver trimmed a 21-point first-half Magic lead to eight points late in the third quarter, but struggled in the fourth as their offensive sets stalled and the Magic were able to get some easy shots on their end.

Gallinari was also the only Denver player to consistently make it to the free-throw line, as Orlando's defense was able to contain the usually active Andre Iguodala, who was held to nine points on 3 of 10 shooting.

Injuries were a problem in the preseason with several Magic players missing part or the entire exhibition schedule with various ailments.

Turkoglu's injury means Vaughn will have to get creative to fill his slot in the starting lineup, with no true small forward healthy enough to immediately fill-in.

Rookie Maurice Harkless, who was acquired in the Howard deal, would seem to be the obvious candidate. But Vaughn said that he only recently was cleared for full-contact practice following sports hernia surgery and will need a few before he's ready for game action. He is currently day-to-day.

Orlando led 58-37 at the break, sparked by Davis and Redick, who each had 15 first-half points.

Despite a roster dealing with several early-season injuries, Vaughn substituted liberally in the early going, playing nine different players.

The fresh legs helped the flow of the offense, with the Magic moving the ball well and getting assists on 16 of their 24 field goals for the half.

The Nuggets, who scored just 38 first-half points in their season-opener, managed only 37 in the opening 24 minutes on Friday.

Their early shooting woes were also present for the second straight game, connecting on just 36 percent (16 of 44) as Orlando built as much as a 21-point lead before halftime.

Notes: North Carolina coach Roy Williams sat courtside Friday to support Vaughn, who is the first former Williams' player to become an NBA head coach. Vaughn played for Williams in college at Kansas. ...Orlando opened the season without backup big man Gustavo Ayon (sprained left thumb), swingman DeQuan Jones (strained hip muscle) and F Al Harrington (knee). ...Nuggets coach George Karl said C Timofey Mozgov (left knee strain) ran during shoot around on Friday, and could be ready for their home opener Tuesday against Detroit...The Magic improved to 15-9 all-time in season openers.

Quick Links

The Kapri Bibbs touchdown vs. the Cowboys was the very definition of team football

The Kapri Bibbs touchdown vs. the Cowboys was the very definition of team football

The obsession over how football is a team game, and how all 11 guys on the field matter on every single play, can be nauseating at times.

Plenty of things in an NFL contest happen because of one player beating another player. In other instances, it's about a single dude just absolutely screwing everything up all on his own (most often that dude is Blake Bortles).

But on Kapri Bibbs' 23-yard opening-drive touchdown catch vs. the Cowboys in Week 7, a ton of non-ball-carrying Redskins did in fact chip in to help get Bibbs into the end zone. It was one of those plays that just makes you want to scream FOOTBALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!

The first two 'Skins who deserve recognition on the score are Shawn Lauvao and Brandon Scherff.

Lauvao, who was returning from injury, leaked out with Scherff and Chase Roullier to serve as Bibbs' personal, giant escorts to the goal line. He then showed excellent awareness to peel back and seal off Dallas D-linemen Antwaun Woods, which ended any hopes of a Cowboy catching Bibbs from behind.

The true hero, though, was Scherff. The human wood chipper got pieces of two opposing linemen before breaking out to the next level, diving and knocking Kavon Frazier out of Bibbs' path. Without Scherff's insane effort, the screen pass doesn't even result in positive yardage, let alone six points.

Here's a still image of the first two, key blocks:

Large Redskins weren't the only ones getting the job done in hand-to-hand combat, however. For a screen to elevate itself from solid play to major chunk play, you need receivers doing work well past the line of scrimmage, too.

Well, this screenshot of Josh Doctson and Brian Quick holding blocks at the sticks definitely qualifies as doing work:

And, lastly, there's the center, Roullier. The man who started the entire sequence with a snap from the 23-yard line eventually found himself at the 12, displacing Byron Jones to ensure that the home team's tailback would finish things dancing instead of getting up from the ground:

To enjoy the full FOOTBALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!-ness of the six-pointer, head to the 23-second mark of this video. Then, take a moment to reflect on all those poor Cowboys who thought they were going to tackle Kapri Bibbs throughout the course of that highlight, because they never really had a chance and that's just so sad for them.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

What exactly was Alex Smith thinking when he went out of bounds on the last drive?

What exactly was Alex Smith thinking when he went out of bounds on the last drive?

FEDEX FIELD -- Late in the Redskins win over the Cowboys, when the contest was still very much in question, Alex Smith made an incredibly poor decision. 

It was situational football at its peak. The Redskins had the ball with under 90 seconds left and a three point lead while Dallas had just one timeout left. A first down would end the game, but beyond getting a new set of downs, forcing Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to use his final timeout was the next highest priority. 

Somehow, Smith achieved neither. 

On third-and-9 from his own 36-yard-line, Smith took the snap and worked left on a play-action bootleg. There was room to run for a modest gain, but it seemed obvious Smith would not pick up the first down. 

Only Smith didn't see it that way. 

"I knew a first down would end the game and I did have glimpses of myself getting the first down whatever it took," the quarterback said. 

Instead of getting the first down, Smith got dragged out of bounds by Dallas LB Sean Lee. That stopped the clock for the Cowboys, and allowed Garrett to save his final timeout. 

Barring a turnover, it was the worst possible outcome on the play. 

What makes the situation so strange is that Smith is a very smart player. A 14-year veteran, Smith is known as a guy that won't make mistakes to hurt his team and gives his squad a chance for a win every week. Only late in the game, Smith tried to make the play to go for the win, and made a huge mistake instead. 

"I all of a sudden found myself pretty awkward on the sidelines there and can’t have it," Smith said. "[I] could have obviously cost us the game in hindsight at that point, I think kinda abandon ship and go down there on the sideline.”

The good news for Smith, and for the 4-2 Redskins, is that Cowboys kicker Brett Maher plunked the upright on his game-tying field goal attempt. An attempt that might not have happened if Smith stayed in bounds. 

In the end, it didn't cost the Redskins. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: