Around the Amway -- January 3, 2011
By Josh Cohen & Dan Savage | Around the Amway Archive
Rather than put their heads down after a lackluster first half, the Orlando Magic just decided to work harder, execute better and focus in a little more.
Trailing by as many as 11 in the first half, the Magic stormed back and released their arsenal against a formidable opponent, the Golden State Warriors, on Monday for a 110-90 victory. It was Orlando’s sixth consecutive triumph.
Like they have done since the two blockbuster trades last month, the Magic delivered another balanced offensive effort.
Led by Dwight Howard, who erupted for 22 points and 17 rebounds, eight Magic players scored in double figures. Jason Richardson contributed 20 points against his former team, Ryan Anderson and J.J. Redick each scored 13 and Jameer Nelson had 11.
Since the beginning of the winning streak, Orlando has benefitted from its equilibrium.
Against New York and San Antonio, the Magic had seven players in double figures, against New Jersey six, versus Boston five and in their victory over Cleveland four.
Hedo Turkoglu, who has helped inspire this team with his all-around excellence, racked up a triple-double with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. He also accumulated five steals.
"He's shooting the ball well, he's passing, he's more dedicated than he was before he got traded which is great to see," Howard said about Turkoglu.
Orlando limited one of the best offensive teams in the NBA to just 41 percent shooting from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range.
Monta Ellis led Golden State with 20 points, Dorell Wright tallied 17 points and Stephen Curry scored 15.
The Magic will look to continue their winning streak when they host the Bucks on Wednesday at Amway Center.
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Hedo Turkoglu’s relationship with the Orlando Magic is similar to that of a person with their favorite pair of jeans; it’s a perfect fit.
After playing close to terrible basketball for one and a half seasons with the Raptors and Suns, Turk unquestionably looks more comfortable in a Magic uniform and it shows.
The Mad Turk continued his new reign of terror over the opposition, erupting for the third triple-double of his career with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists to help Orlando pull past Golden State for a home victory on Monday.
“It’s always special,” said Turkoglu of notching a triple-double. “It’s huge and special. Hopefully I’ll keep it up and have more throughout the year.”
While some players are unaware of an approaching triple-double, Turk knew well in advance that he was about to record the rare feat. And he made sure his teammates were conscious of his chances too.
“I knew he was close when he threw me the ball and I didn’t shoot; then he yelled at me,” Jason Richardson said with a wide-stretched smile. “I was like ‘what’s going on?’ He was like ‘I need an assist.’ I didn’t know that, but you definitely want your guy to get a triple-double, because they are hard to come by.”
Along with stuffing the stat sheet, Turk helped draw attention away from superstar center Dwight Howard and continuously made plays in Orlando’s high pick-and-roll sets.
“He’s able to look people off and make passes to guys for threes,” Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy explained. “His versatility is showing.”
The Magic hope it stays that way.
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There is a popular adage in the NBA and it’s that players who have been traded in their careers want to prove a point to the franchises that previously dealt them away.
While Jason Richardson may not hold a grudge against the Golden State Warriors – a club that J-Rich flourished with and developed his career with for six seasons – he definitely wanted to show his former team what they are missing.
On draft night in 2007 – around two months after the Warriors pulled off one of the most monumental upsets in professional sports history – Golden State decided to trade J-Rich to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for the draft rights to Brandan Wright.
Irrespective of the reasoning – although evidently it was to increase their size and versatility in the paint – it was somewhat of a surprise that the Warriors opted to go in a different direction after Richardson provided so much to the organization.
Although it was nothing new for the former NCAA champion while suiting up for Michigan State to play against his former team (played Golden State plenty of times while competing for Phoenix), surely J-Rich wanted to have a solid outing on Monday.
He definitely delivered and probably had the Warriors organization questioning themselves with, arguably, his best performance since joining the Magic by racking up 20 points in Orlando’s victory.
Also contributing to limiting his former teammate Monta Ellis below his season scoring average (25.4), Richardson gave a hard-fought effort on the defensive end as well.
All in all, J-Rich is thrilled to be in Orlando and playing for a championship-level team.
Although Gilbert Arenas opted to leave the Warriors via free agency in 2003, he too had a quality performance off the bench on Monday with 11 points.
When NBA fans reflect on the 2007 NBA Playoffs, some reminisce LeBron James’ miraculous 48-point performance in Detroit in the conference finals; others recollect Derek Fisher’s inconceivable and dramatic return for Utah after his daughter had a tumor removed; and few remember the infamous Suns-Spurs altercation during their epic series.
But incontrovertibly, the moment that stands out the most is the Golden State Warriors’ unimaginable upset over the heavily favored Dallas Mavericks in the First Round.
From the boisterous crowds at ORACLE Arena that all sported the yellow We Believe t-shirts to remarkable shots by Baron Davis (WATCH) to acrobatic ones by current Magic star Jason Richardson (WATCH), the Warriors became the darlings of the 2007 NBA season.
Golden State became just the third No. 8 seed in NBA history to eliminate a No. 1 seed and the only one to do it in a seven-game series (1994 Nuggets and 1999 Knicks did it when the First Round was a best-of-five).
It’s arguable that the Warriors’ upset over the Mavericks, who had won an NBA-best 67 games during the regular season, is the most improbable upset in professional sports history.
Unfortunately for Golden State, though, that heroic triumph didn’t translate into further success in the subsequent years. After trading away Richardson that following summer and Stephen Jackson, who was a catalyst to their development, in 2009, the Warriors stumbled back into the lottery.
Davis signed with the L.A. Clippers, former Magic forwards Matt Barnes and Mickael Pietrus departed to further progress their careers and Al Harrington was eventually dealt away.
Although it is ill-fated that we didn’t get a chance to see that exhilarating unit continue to play together, we at least have those awesome memories to store in our NBA minds.
While watching the Warriors on Monday, I couldn't help but affiliate this franchise to that historic victory.
Dwight Howard (22), Jason Richardson (20), Ryan Anderson (13), J.J. Redick (13), Jameer Nelson (11), Gilbert Arenas (11), Hedo Turkoglu (10) and Brandon Bass (10) all managed to post double-figure points totals in Orlando’s triumph over the Golden State.
It was just the sixth time in franchise history that eight players scored in double digits. The team has never had nine players reach the mark.
The Magic’s starting forward delivered a gutsy performance, posting 10 points and three rebounds.
“There’s another course we (are trying) to go with cortisone to calm down the pain and allow him to play,” said Van Gundy. “We’re trying to get that calmed down without the surgery.”
By suiting up for his 385th career game with Orlando on Monday, Turk passed Scott Skiles and moved into ninth place on the Magic’s all-time career-games-played list.
He needs just 28 more contests to pass Horace Grant and Jeff Turner (411 each) for seventh place.