Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 2/17/12
Last Saturday night in Milwaukee, the Orlando Magic were slogging their way through their fourth game in six nights, trailing the Bucks by six at the half, when a fan hollered out, Hey Richardson, youre washed up! The object of the fans ridicule was Jason Richardson, Orlandos 31-year-old shooting guard, who at the time, had scored all of 3 points. Sparked by the taunt, Richardson proceeded to dump in 28 second half points, including a barrage of eight 3-pointers, on the Bucks, leading the Magic to a come-from-behind victory. You can call Richardson whatever you like. Just dont call him washed up. After a slow start, precipitated by a sore left knee, J-Rich is back to playing basketball the way hes been playing it for the past 10 years. In February, the Magics starting 2-guard is averaging a healthy 17.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Hes shooting 49 percent from the field and a whopping 55 percent from beyond the arc. About the same time Richardsons game began to return to form, another Magic player who many may have believed to have been in Richardsons washed up category, point guard Jameer Nelson, also started coming around. Nelson struggled in December and January, then suffered a concussion in a game against New Orleans. But since returning, as if the injury kicked on some kind of reset button inside Jameers head, the team captain has returned to form, averaging 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game, including a 3.8-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Suddenly the Magic, a team counted out by many because of the struggles of Nelson and Richardson, and the uncertainty of Dwight Howards future with the franchise, are playing their best basketball of the season. The ball is moving, and as a result, assists are up and turnovers are down (averaging 21.3 assists to 14 turnovers in February), and the 3-pointers are falling (more than 12 made per game in February). The Magic defense, anchored by Howard, is stifling (opponents are shooting 41.8 percent from the field against the Magic in February). Orlando, as a team, it seems, is a lot like Richardson and Nelson: Written off too early. For the first six weeks of the season, the team struggled to find its footing as one of the top teams in the Eastern conference. Now, things appear to be coming together. The key for the future, obviously, is what happens with Dwight Howard. Magic fans are hoping the games best big man doesnt become that most rare individual, the one who moves from Orlando to New Jersey (or to any other locale for that matter). But if he stays, theres no reason why Orlando, which when at its best is as good as any team in the East, cant bring some Magic back to central Florida deep into the postseason.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Seven most shocking development from Day 2 of NFL Draft

Joe Mixon drafted by Bengals; fans boo pick

Vikings land Adrian Peterson’s replacement, trade up for Dalvin Cook

WATCH: Kris Bryant launches moonshot completely out of Fenway Park

Kevin King, alone in green room, taken first in Round 2 by Packers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Felix Hernandez, Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks for Mariners

CFL fines head coach for meeting with Johnny Manziel rep

Reuben Foster hung up on Saints when 49ers called him

Packers ‘taking calls’ for No. 33 pick in draft

Bears confirm that Mike Glennon is their starter for the 2017 season

Report: Jets making calls trying to trade Sheldon Richardson

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker