Cohen Courtside: Magic vs. Pacers (3/11/12)
By Josh Cohen
March 11, 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 -- It sure looks like this team is trying hard to make a persuasive statement.
It sure looks like this team is motivated and spirited despite all the unavoidable trade speculation and ambiguity.
It sure looks like this team and all its players is as committed as ever to winning an NBA championship with THIS franchise.
It sure looks like this team is not exceedingly distracted by what may or may not happen by Thursday’s much-anticipated NBA trade deadline.
The Orlando Magic crushed the Indiana Pacers – an opponent they could potentially see in the First Round of the playoffs – on Sunday and may have offered the public a far different perspective than the inescapable headline story encircling the franchise.
At least for the night, critics and fans can chat about how superlative J.J. Redick (18 points, nine assists) played as a starter in place of the injured Jason Richardson.
At least for the night, critics and fans can discuss Ryan Anderson’s relentlessness on the floor (12 points, nine rebounds) and Chris Duhon’s blistering shooting from 3-point range (3-of-4 from long distance).
At least for the night, critics and fans can bloat about how effective Dwight Howard (30 points, 13 rebounds) was against a familiar rival, Roy Hibbert, rather than whether he will be traded or not by the latter part of the week.
It’s not like Orlando is playing perfect basketball, however. Stan Van Gundy, for instance, would be kidding if he said the team doesn’t have items to repair like cutting down on turnovers.
But, for what it’s worth, the Magic deserve to be mentioned in the same conversation as any other elite team in the league. That includes Chicago, which Orlando edged on Thursday in the Windy City, Miami, which will be in town on Tuesday, and any Western Conference foe you can deem as reputable.
Amid all the rumors, which stretch far and beyond just Howard if you are fan of reading any web site that proposes the 3,593 trade theories that are gyrating around the Internet, Orlando is exceeding some expectations for sure.
Remember, after last year’s First Round playoff exit all the detractors suggested that the Magic were a one-man band and that the supporting cast weren’t capable of providing Howard the help he needed.
Well, this season it seems impartial to insinuate that the sidebar characters like Anderson, Redick and more recently, Jameer Nelson and Quentin Richardson, have been huge contributors throughout this season.
The Magic still have two games before the trade deadline and maybe suitably, those two contests are against two of the best teams in the league, the Heat and Spurs.
If somehow you weren’t already excited about these upcoming games, with all that is spinning around O-Town, it would be impossible not to be interested now.
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