Magic have used tough season to learn various lessons

Even though the Orlando Magic have been eliminated from the playoff race for some time now, players and coaches are still treating the last few games like business as usual.

It’s a mindset that Magic coach Jacque Vaughn preaches to the players to have.

“I want these guys to appreciate what they do for a living,” said Vaughn. “That’s coming to work and enjoying the people around you and enjoying this game that you’re blessed to have an opportunity to play. We come to work every day and we get better and that’s what we do.”

Vaughn has been impressed with the team’s play at home against some of the better NBA teams. Over the last week, the Magic have beaten the Timberwolves and Nets at home and led the Washington Wizards until late in the game.

“We leave these games and we’re learning lessons,” said Vaughn after Friday night’s loss to the Wizards. “What I do like is we’re playing better basketball; this is another playoff team that we played right here and we did a lot of good things throughout the course of the night.”

The Magic have three games left in the season, with road games in Brooklyn and Chicago on Sunday and Monday, and the season finale at home versus the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

While the Magic have improved a couple of games in the win column from last season, forward Arron Afflalo said not competing for the championship affects players mentally.

“You play this game because you have the hope that you can win a championship,” said Afflalo. “Every team except one is going to go home dissatisfied to some degree. You want to have the hope that you can at least have a chance into the final day so playing weeks and months ahead of time without that hope that you can compete for a championship is difficult.”

Afflalo he said he’s going to try to lead his teammates by example during the last three games.

“It’s important that I give the effort and have the motivation to win and try my best to do little leadership things here and there,” said Afflalo.

“Hopefully [I] kind of just join in with the rest of the guys and close out the season strong. If you have an option to close out the season on a positive note or a somber note it’s best to end it on a positive note.”