Cohen Courtside: Magic at Hornets (1/27/12)



By Josh Cohen
January 27, 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.

NOT MUCH OF A BOUNCE BACK


The Orlando Magic are in the midst of one of those unfavorable and exasperating stretches that tend to poke at teams every year, especially in this truncated season.

Not only is it wearisome to watch your city drop in the standings, but also it’s frustrating to wonder when they will snap out of this sudden crinkle.

Just one night after an epic collapse to the Celtics, the Magic looked bruised and battered against a far more inferior opponent, the Hornets, and lost convincingly.

There are two ways to look at this situation: One good, one bad.

First for the good news, it’s January 27 of an abridged season. It’s very possible once the Magic restore their confidence and vigor, which could come as early as Sunday when they host the Pacers, Monday’s Boston Massacre, Thursday’s grievous crumple and Friday’s burnout could become a distant nightmare.

We all know the Magic are capable of delivering outstanding performances and in effect accumulate winning streaks to stay level with the other East elite. As long as they get back on track sooner rather than later, this week’s unflattering effort will be just a blimp on the resume.

For the bad news, with all of the drama surrounding Dwight Howard and knowing exactly what happened in the second half of last season, you have to construe certain possibilities.

Up until this point, the Magic’s supporting cast has been vastly improved from a year ago. Though he didn’t play on Friday due to a sore calf, Ryan Anderson has surpassed all expectations and is a potential candidate to play in the All-Star Game. J.J. Redick, meanwhile, has really developed and Hedo Turkoglu, for most of this season, has resembled more of the player of old than the one that seemingly tanked the last couple of years.

But this week, aside from their dominant performance in Indiana, the Magic have looked stale and frozen.

It’s essential, and it’s important to really emphasize the word essential in this supposition, for Orlando to snap out of this disadvantageous streak quickly.

We all know of Howard’s trade request from training camp and the Magic know it will be difficult to persuade their superstar to reconsider his demand if Orlando is not in a comfy position by the mid-March trade deadline.

As detailed in my recent column, Regular Season Importance, historically it’s proven that you virtually have to be a top 3 seed in your conference to seriously contend for a title.

With so many other good teams in the East, including the Heat, Bulls, Celtics, Sixers and Pacers, it’s very important for the Magic to not have too many stretches like the one they just had.

The Magic just have to believe this has been a temporary blotch. The ultimate advice: Use Saturday as a day to unwind, clear your head and think big for the future. Don’t dwell on the past.


MORE THOUGHTS


  • The purpose of Cohen Courtside is to analyze stories that stretch far beyond the box score, so it’s not necessary to examine statistics.

    But it was very noticeable that only Howard, who finished with 28 points and 16 rebounds, scored in double figures on Friday. Everyone else seemed exhausted. J.J. Redick was the next best scorer with nine points.

  • "It's the three worst losses I think we've had since I've been here in a matter of five days, so it's tough to take," Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said about his team's performance.

  • Already without Ryan Anderson due to a calf problem, the Magic lost Jameer Nelson late in the first half with a sore jaw. Neither injury is likely to force Anderson or Nelson to miss extended time.

  • Daniel Orton finally made his NBA debut when he entered the game late in the fourth quarter. Orlando’s first round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft had long awaited the chance to step on the NBA hardwood. He recorded two points, both from the foul line.


What do you think is the reason for this week's poor play?
What do you think is the reason for this week's poor play?
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