Cohen: Player Performance Breakdown at Knicks

By Josh Cohen
March 28, 2011


I provide a brief analysis of how each player on the Magic performed on Monday against the Knicks and want you, the fans, to vote on the grade you think each competitor deserves for their contributions.

Grading System:

A - Excellent; Absolutely sensational; Definitely at a first-rate level

B - Pretty good; Generally content with a few exceptions here and there; Still need some improvement if they want to be a significant contributor

C - Somewhat disappointed; Expect more consistency; Hope for improvement as the season progresses







Dwight Howard
You wouldn’t suggest it after not connecting on a field goal and registering just four points in the first half, but Dwight Howard ultimately enjoyed one of his more impressive performances.

Aside from his final statistics (29 points and 18 rebounds), Howard accepted the challenges presented to him in the first 24 minutes and subsequently altered his attack to dominate in the last 24-plus.

In addition, D12 shot an efficient 11-of-15 from the free throw line. He also helped limit Amar’e Stoudemire to just seven total points in the second half/overtime.

Until fouling out in OT, Howard played the entire second half to once again prove he is very capable of playing at a high level without any rest.

What grade do you give Dwight Howard's performance on Monday against the Knicks?
What grade do you give Dwight Howard's performance on Monday against the Knicks?
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Brandon Bass
While Hedo Turkoglu is commonly nicknamed Mr. Fourth Quarter for his superb efforts late in games, Brandon Bass should probably be labeled Mr. First Quarter.

Bass tends to be very effective following the tip off as demonstrated on Monday when he shot a perfect 3-of-3 for six points in the opening period. On Friday against the Nets, similarly, the Louisiana native recorded 11 consecutive points in the first quarter.

Though always supreme early, Bass tends to fade as games progress. This may simply be a result of Howard’s excellence and his need for the ball in the post once he gets into rhythm.

What grade do you give Brandon Bass' performance on Monday against the Knicks?
What grade do you give Brandon Bass' performance on Monday against the Knicks?
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Hedo Turkoglu
Though it was Hedo Turkoglu’s responsibility to try to contain Carmelo Anthony, on this night with the Knicks in desperate need of a victory and extra urgency placed in Melo’s lap, not even a swarm of bees could prevent New York’s superstar from erupting.

Anthony surpassed his Knicks high for the second consecutive game with 39 points and was unassailable in the second half when he exploded for 19 in the third and 33 total after the break.

Turk, nonetheless, was generally effective on the offensive end – hitting some pivotal outside shots and occasionally running the point with Jameer Nelson already out (sprained knee) and Chris Duhon injuring his thumb early on and not returning.

What grade do you give Hedo Turkoglu's performance on Monday against the Knicks?
What grade do you give Hedo Turkoglu's performance on Monday against the Knicks?
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Jason Richardson
In March, Jason Richardson has drained at least three 3-pointers in a game eight times, including on Monday in New York when he buried four from beyond the arc.

J-Rich also connected on a game-tying trey with 5.7 seconds remaining to send the contest to OT and finished with 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field.

Though not renowned for his defensive fortitude, the former NCAA champion at Michigan State has certainly elevated his willingness to defend some of the more premier scorers in the league.

Out of the all of the acquisitions in December’s blockbuster trades, it’s probably reasonable to suggest that J-Rich has been the most consistent one.

What grade do you give Jason Richardson's performance on Monday against the Knicks?
What grade do you give Jason Richardson's performance on Monday against the Knicks?
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Gilbert Arenas
With Jameer Nelson out recovering from a sprained knee, it was a golden opportunity for Gilbert Arenas to prove all of his naysayers wrong.

Generally, however, it was another complicated night for Gil. He shot just 2-of-11 from the field (though two of his buckets were in the final two minutes of regulation to help Orlando climb out of a six-point deficit) and committed five turnovers.

In spite of all of his shooting struggles, Arenas continued to demonstrate a relentless determination to work hard defensively and battle for rebounds. He collected three steals and a season-best 10 rebounds.

What grade do you give Gilbert Arenas' performance on Monday against the Knicks?
What grade do you give Gilbert Arenas' performance on Monday against the Knicks?
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Ryan Anderson
There is a common message that swirls around the media in Orlando: If he gets his feet planted from long distance, Ryan Anderson is practically automatic from 3-point range.

This memorandum was again revealed on Monday against the Knicks when Rhino drilled a pair of treys and finished with 10 points and six rebounds off the bench.

Anderson will generally never do anything that warrants a spot in ESPN’s Top 10 Plays of the Night, but he always does enough to give you confidence that he is an above average role player.

What grade do you give Ryan Anderson's performance on Monday against the Knicks?
What grade do you give Ryan Anderson's performance on Monday against the Knicks?
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Earl Clark
With all of the injuries and Hedo Turkoglu in foul trouble thoughout, Earl Clark received some valuable minutes. His primary role was to help guard Carmelo Anthony, but as I explained in Turk’s breakdown, there was no stopping ‘Melo on this night.

Stan Van Gundy has repeatedly said that he believes Clark will eventually transform into a first-rate defender. When that time comes, the New Jersey native will be an essential reserve in this league.

What grade do you give Earl Clark's performance on Monday against the Knicks?
What grade do you give Earl Clark's performance on Monday against the Knicks?
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