Denton: Magic-Hornets Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
January 12, 2011

NEW ORLEANS – The Orlando Magic had built up so much positive momentum and feel-good vibes during the recent franchise record-tying nine-game win streak that at no point during Wednesday’s game did superstar center Dwight Howard ever think he’d walk out of New Orleans Arena with a loss.

But that’s just what happened when a Magic team that mostly slogged through regulation and craftily scrambled to force overtime couldn’t come up with enough key plays in the extra period.

Orlando’s 92-89 overtime loss to New Orleans left the Magic stunned that a win streak that had spanned since Dec. 21 was finally over. But ultimately the Magic never played at a fast enough pace or got enough production out of players other than Howard to beat the surprising Hornets.

``Even when they had the (nine-point) lead in the fourth quarter I never really thought we’d lose this game because I knew we’d come back,’’ said Howard, who had 29 points, 20 rebounds and two blocked shots. ``We did a good job of getting back into the game, but we couldn’t make enough plays at the end to win it.’’

The Magic (25-13) got a clutch 3-pointer from Hedo Turkoglu with 6.9 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game and keep alive hopes of the first double-digit win streak in franchise history. But the streak ended at nine games, just as it did in 1994 and 2001, when J.J. Redick’s hurried 3-point shot at the end of overtime came up way short.

Jason Richardson had 21 points and five 3-pointers, two of which came in the fourth quarter during the Magic’s furious rally. Ryan Anderson scored 14 points and made four 3-pointers, but those were the only double-digit scorers on a Magic team that has regularly had seven or eight of them during this win streak.

The other numbers were mostly ugly. Brandon Bass missed 10 of 13 shots, Turkoglu misfired on eight of his 10 tries, point guard Jameer Nelson had eight misses in nine tries, while Redick missed nine of his 11 shots. Orlando shot 39.1 percent and had only two fastbreak baskets all game long.

``We didn’t play well enough or hard enough to win,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``We’ve survived a few games here and gotten wins when we haven’t put together a complete game. We’re in some bad habits right now of not playing all 48 minutes. It bit us and hopefully we’ll learn from it and move on.’’

The Magic don’t have long to recover, playing in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. The Thunder won in Houston Wednesday night.

Here is a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from Wednesday night’s game in the Crescent City: