Denton: Magic-Knicks Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
March 28, 2011

NEW YORK – Two Orlando Magic point guards were out of the game injured, one was in another prolonged shooting funk most of the night and the converted, makeshift fourth-string point guard was saddled with foul trouble.

But as it turns out, that wasn’t even the Magic’s biggest problem Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

Orlando’s troubles at point guard became almost comical after it opened without Jameer Nelson (sprained knee), lost Chris Duhon to a thumb injury and saw Gilbert Arenas miss his first eight shots. But the biggest issues on this night for the Magic were seeing Dwight Howard pick up his 17th technical foul and having no one to slow down Carmelo Anthony, who poured in 39 points and helped New York beat the Magic 113-106 in overtime.

``It was a wild, wild game, but we still had a chance to win it if a few things had gone the other way,’’ Howard said. ``It’s an intense game out there and I’m emotional sometimes. My teammates know what is going on, but we’ll just move on.’’

The loss ended the Magic’s winning streak at five games and prevented Orlando (47-27) from sweeping New York (36-38) in all four games this season. Anthony called the game ``a must-win’’ earlier Monday for the skidding Knicks – losers of six in a row and nine of 10 before Monday – and then went out and did something about it with 19 third-quarter points and 33 in the second half and overtime.

Faced with odds that kept mounting all night, the Magic were remarkably able to get the game to overtime by rallying from a 98-92 deficit in the final 1:20 of regulation. Jason Richardson (24 points) tied the game with a clutch 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds to play.

And one of the weirdest plays of the night came with 51 seconds to play in overtime. A potential game-tying 3-pointer by Hedo Turkoglu was wiped off the board when Richardson was whistled for a tripping foul 30 feet from the play. Just seconds earlier, Anthony had pulled Richardson down following a scrum for a loose ball. But veteran referee Dick Bavetta called only Richardson’s retaliation, depriving the Magic of a tying score.

An avalanche of errors and injuries finally caught up to Orlando in OT. Howard, who had 29 points and 18 rebounds, was whistled for a highly questionable sixth foul with 1:17 left in overtime while fighting for a rebound. He objected to referee Leon Wood’s call and flung the ball the length of the court to draw his 17th technical of the season. Already suspended one game earlier this season, an 18th technical foul over the final eight games of the regular season would result in another one-game suspension.

``Foul? What foul?’’ Arenas said, referring to Howard’s sixth personal. ``When you throw the ball to the other end of the floor, 99.9 percent of the time it’s a delay of game. But I guess against Dwight it’s always a technical foul.’’

Turkoglu, the fourth-string point guard, had 18 points in 40 minutes before fouling out in overtime. Arenas missed nine of 11 shots and finished with nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists in 43 minutes. Brandon Bass scored 14, while Ryan Anderson added 10 points and two 3-pointers off the bench.

Here’s a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from the fourth and final game this season against the Knicks: