Cohen Courtside: Magic vs. Bobcats (1/17/12)
By Josh Cohen
January 17, 2012
In Cohen Courtside, Josh Cohen examines the state of the Orlando Magic after games this season. He will tackle sidebar storylines and focus on topics that stretch far beyond the box score. There will also be some analysis on league-wide subjects.
ORLANDO -- In the common 82-game schedule, it’s a drudge to play on back-to-back nights. Coaches and players have to prepare on short rest, travel can be exhausting and sometimes the human body can’t physically perform like normal.
It’s always a concern for teams on the backend of a back-to-back if they can endure all the fatigue and lack of planning.
But imagine because of a truncated 66-game calendar having to tolerate a back-to-back-to-back. While on one hand it may not seem that daunting, the commitment it takes to stay durable is very intricate.
The Orlando Magic are in the midst of their only three in three of the season – fortunate for them considering some teams have to deal with it twice throughout this abridged campaign.
Hot shooting and resolute fourth-quarter defense propelled Orlando in New York on Monday to initiate the atypical back-to-back-to-back.
While it wasn’t necessarily an attractive victory based on an examination of the box score, the Magic prevailed against the unproven Bobcats on Tuesday to keep their hopes alive of sweeping this menacing mid-January agenda.
“We just have to be consistent and understand that this is going to be a tough season,” Dwight Howard said. “It’s not like any other season where we’ll get chances to get breaks and rest here and there.”
The finale will almost certainly be a challenge as the Spurs come to town.
But if you assess other teams who have already contended with a back-to-back-to-back, winning all three is very feasible and actually frequent amongst the league’s elite.
Both the Thunder and Bulls prevailed in all three of their games during their stretch of three games in three nights, while the Hawks won two of three in what translated into a total 12 quarters and three overtimes.
It was noticeable, however, during just the second game that the Magic’s endurance and energy was a bit staggered. Perhaps Orlando underestimated Charlotte because of its inexperience and dreadful record, but clearly the Magic didn’t play their best basketball.
They did, on the other hand, show more resolve – a signature of the Magic over the first four weeks of the season.
Statistics aren’t exceptionally important, but no numbers were worth highlighting in detail. Howard rebounded from his quiet performance on Monday to tally 25 points and 17 rebounds, while Von Wafer posted 13 points and along with Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson was clutch in the fourth quarter.
Orlando, nonetheless, will definitely have to boost its exertion against San Antonio on Wednesday.
With Tim Duncan and Tony Parker leading the charge, the Spurs remain one of the more potent teams in the Western Conference.
- With all of the Dwight Howard drama throughout the offseason and training camp regarding his request of a trade and his desire to play alongside a second superstar, you always wondered if D12’s teammates would be impacted by all the rumors.
Up until this point, it’s reasonable to suggest that one player – a very critical one to the Magic’s quest of winning the NBA championship – has potentially been affected.
Jameer Nelson, though he finished with a solid 17 points on Tuesday against the Bobcats, has not been himself this season. The hope is that eventually he turns it around and returns to the player we know he is capable of being.
- J.J. Redick delivered a powerful message during postgame interviews on Tuesday. He said this team “has the chance to be the best team he has played on in his six seasons with the Magic.”
While this season is young, this is a mighty memo from someone who played on the team that advanced to the NBA Finals in 2009.
- Shifting focus, anyone else shocked that the Boston Celtics have started this season 4-8? They have admitted they are not conditioned yet and have been most impacted by the shortened training camp. It makes you wonder, though, will Danny Ainge consider dismantling that roster and consider trading any of the Big Four?
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