Cohen Courtside: Magic vs. Bulls (3/19/12)
By Josh Cohen
March 19, 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 -- Monday’s loss was a difficult one to swallow.
That final score, 85-59, is a frightening one. And yes, it doesn’t make much sense that a team without its “sole superstar” dominated like they did.
It’s just one of those head-scratchers, really.
Minus Derrick Rose, the Bulls were phenomenal. Carlos Boozer (24 points) and John Lucas (20 points) were exceptional and Chicago’s defensive schemes were flawless.
The Bulls have proven, in spite of a myriad of injuries all season long, that they are a cohesive bunch that beats you with relentless energy and hustle.
Job well done Chicago, but nobody should be planning a championship parade in the Windy City just yet.
For now, let’s applaud the Bulls. They deserved to win Monday’s game in Orlando and they deserve to own the best record in the league.
But we can analyze Chicago at a later time. For now, let’s try to dissect what the Magic did wrong or simply not enough of.
It would be easy to suggest that fatigue was a primary factor. Orlando played in Miami on Sunday night, while Chicago was already in town resting.
Monday’s lopsided loss may have simply been a result of meager shooting.
It’s no secret in Orlando that if the threes aren’t falling, the Magic are likely to struggle. Any time a team goes 4-for-20 from long distance and 7-of-18 from the free throw line you can assume their point total was less than their opponent’s.
Maybe this performance was an after-effect of celebrating Dwight Howard’s decision. Relief spread far and wide after last Thursday’s astonishing turn of events and perhaps the Magic got a little too comfortable.
Leading up to the NBA trade deadline, there was so much ambiguity and fear regarding the future of the franchise that it seemed every player on the Magic wanted to make one last grand impression before any decisions were made.
Remember, in the week before the deadline, the Magic beat the Bulls in Chicago and then beat both the Pacers and Heat at Amway Center. Therefore, we know the potential is there for the Magic to strike any opponent in the league.
Perhaps this is the wakeup call Orlando needed. If you recall, it took a few devastating defeats, including a pair of menacing losses to the Celtics and some other dismal efforts in January, to get the Magic back on track.
Fortunately, the schedule eases up a bit. Orlando hosts Phoenix and Cleveland and then visits Toronto in its next three contests. Those are three adversaries that if the playoffs started today would not be playing past April.
Don’t be surprised if the Magic go on an elongated winning streak beginning Wednesday. It's the only way to make Monday's performance feel like an eternity ago.
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