Cohen: Magic-Warriors Analysis
By Josh Cohen
March 11, 2011
Friday’s breathtaking contest was like a real-life illustration of the always-popular video game NBA Jam.
While watching, you couldn’t help but envisage some stadium announcer shouting “on fire” and noticing the basketball transforming into flames.
You probably acted out in astonishment at times – raising your hands to your forehead and screaming at the television screen out of either exhilaration or aggravation.
The Orlando Magic and Golden State Warriors competed in one of the most remarkable games in NBA history.
Not just because there were immeasurable momentum shifts or a variety of clutch scoring but also because it actually felt imaginary.
Appropriate that the final score differential was three (123-120), the Magic and Warriors set an NBA record for most combined 3-pointers in a game with 36 treys.
Unfortunately for Orlando, Golden State’s 21 connects from long distance proved too menacing as the Warriors handed the Magic an overtime defeat.
"It was an incredible game," Warriors Head Coach Keith Smart said. "Everyone shot the ball well with big play after big play."
There are countless moments and plays that can be dissected, including the controversial charge call on Jameer Nelson after a steal that would have tied the game in overtime, Hedo Turkoglu’s critical game-tying trey in the final seconds of regulation or the collection of missed shots by Orlando to conclude the game.
It’s almost hard to determine whether Golden State’s outside shooting was an aberration or if Orlando’s lack of pressure on the perimeter was the culprit.
Needless to say, the Warriors and specifically Monta Ellis and Dorell Wright were like jugglers somehow managing to toss six bowling pins up in the air simultaneously. And never did one of those pins drop to the floor.
Wright buried eight from beyond the arc and finished with 32 points, while Ellis sunk seven of them and registered 39 points.
"They put on a show in the second half," Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said.
It felt all along like the game would come down to a 3-point shot. On the Magic’s final possession, Turkoglu, who sent the game into OT with a trey with 8.3 seconds left in regulation, fired long from the right wing and Jason Richardson, who drained seven 3-pointers and tallied 30 points against his former team, couldn’t find the range on the last 3-point shot of the game.
Considering Orlando was ahead by 21 in the first half, Friday’s loss was somewhat disappointing. However, any time a team can finish two 3-pointers shy of tying the Magic’s record for most treys in the game, you have to just shake their hands and accept the fact that what transpired was extraordinary.
Other notables from the game: Dwight Howard grabbed 21 rebounds, Turkoglu, who scored a season-best 24 points, collected a career-tying high five steals, Nelson enjoyed another fine performance with 24 points and eight assists and J.J. Redick did not play after straining his abdomen at shootaround earlier in the day.
While Sunday’s game will probably not feature 36 3-pointers, it will likely be just as invigorating considering it will be the first time Orlando and Phoenix collide since the two teams completed a blockbuster trade in December.
What are your thoughts after Friday's game?