Denton: Magic-Mavericks Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
January 8, 2011

``Mr. Fourth Quarter’’ is back running the show with the Magic, and because he is Orlando continues to be on a red-hot tear that shows no signs of ending anytime soon.

Hedo Turkoglu, who earlier in the week notched the third triple-double of his career, took over a close game Saturday in the fourth quarter with his dazzling passes as the Magic rallied to shred the Mavericks 117-107 for their ninth consecutive victory.

Turkoglu, back with the Magic and playing like he did in 2009 when he led the Magic to the NBA Finals, had a career-high 17 assists, 10 points and another five steals as Orlando (25-12) came all the way back from a 16-point hole in the first half.

Turkoglu, the hero of so many fourth-quarter heroics during his first stint with the Magic from 2004-09, had 10 points, five assists and two steals in the fourth quarter alone. With the Magic trailing 81-80 to start the fourth period, Turkoglu jump-started a 28-7 burst with his passing to set up several easy shots for the Magic.

``It’s great. Every game we do something better,’’ Turkoglu said. ``We’re learning from the mistakes and trying to play better. I know we didn’t play well in the first half, but we picked it up in the second half. We made the extra pass, moved the ball and we knocked down shots.’’

Orlando hasn’t lost since Dec. 21, a game against Dallas that came just three days after the Magic had traded for Turkoglu, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark. Orlando’s current nine-game winning streak ties the all-time franchise record set twice before in 2001 and 1994.

It’s the first time in the Dwight Howard-Jameer Nelson era (2004-11) in Orlando that the Magic have won this many games in a row. They will get a chance to go for the franchise record on Wednesday in New Orleans against the Hornets.

``It’s a little bit unexpected because I thought it would take longer to get to the level that we are now,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said of the Magic’s impressive winning streak. ``We still have to get a lot better, but our guys have come together and played with good chemistry for a team that hasn’t been together long. I have to give them a lot of credit for that. That’s impressive.’’

Howard dominated Tyson Chandler and a Dallas team without star power forward Dirk Nowitzki with 23 points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots. Howard made nine of 16 shots with five of those field goals coming on thunderous dunks.

Here’s a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from a come-from-behind victory that the Magic won’t soon forget: