Denton: Magic-Thunder Postgame Analysis
By John Denton
January 13, 2011
WHAT WENT RIGHT
The consensus All-NBA pick made 11 of 19 shots and 17 of 20 free throw attempts in almost 43 minutes on the floor. He also battered the OKC frontline for 18 rebounds (eight offensive) and two blocked shots. But none of it mattered to the NBA’s two-time Defensive Player of the Year because the Magic’s didn’t show enough grit defensively.
``They hit a lot of tough shots and Jeff Green’s shot in the fourth quarter and Durant’s shot at the end of the game, you just can’t do anything about those,’’ Howard said. ``We shouldn’t ever be giving up 125 points. Man, that’s a lot of points.’’
Anderson stroked in three more 3-pointers and had 15 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes. But his night ended early when he re-aggravated a mid-foot injury that cost him almost three weeks back in December.
Said Anderson: ``That’s the worst that I’ve tweaked it since I hurt it. I didn’t come down on it wrong; it was just pushing off on it. I’m hoping that it’s OK.’’
WHAT WENT WRONG
Van Gundy hinted that he will consider altering his rotations to try and add more life to the team at the start of games. Power forward Brandon Bass has endured a two-game funk of late, and one possible switch might be he and Anderson.
``Obviously our defense was bad, but we’re playing out of a hole every night and I don’t like that trend at all,’’ Van Gundy said. ``Whether we have to make changes in that (starting) lineup or what we’ve got to do something because we’re always in a hole and that’s not good at all.’’
Durant was unstoppable early in the game, making seven of eight shots and scoring 21 points in the first half. Durant buried contested jump shots, wide-open shots, got to the rim on backdoor cuts and basically did what he pleased from the perimeter.
Orlando used Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Brandon Bass on Durant at various times throughout the game with very little success.
And of course it was Durant getting the look on the most important play of the game. With OKC up 121-119, Durant took the ball on the wing, got a step on Turkoglu and lofted a jumper over the oncoming Howard with 8.1 seconds to play.
Said Durant: ``We were clicking on all cylinders and moving the basketball. We found the open shots. Howard is a load down there, but I think we did a good job of helping our bigs out. It was a really good offensive showing for us.’’
How dominant were the Thunder offensively? They had more points through three quarters (96) than the Hornets had in four quarters AND overtime (92) on Wednesday night in New Orleans.
``A couple of their guys got it going, but it was in part because we let them get to their strengths all night,’’ said Redick, who scored 18 points and made four of five 3-pointers in a nice bounce-back effort from Wednesday’s disappointment. ``Durant was phenomenal and so was Westbrook. When it was winning time, Durant hit a big bucket with Turk on his hip and Dwight closing on the floater. It’s a very skilled shot.’’
Krstic, once a promising player before suffering a major knee injury, registered his first double-double of the season by routinely burning the Magic with jumpers when Howard went to help cut off dribble penetration. Krstic scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end of the floor.
When Oklahoma City’s James Harden went to the floor on a 3-point try and the whistle blew most inside of Oklahoma City Arena assumed there would be a foul called on Orlando’s Jameer Nelson.
But Harden clearly kicked out his leg on the play to initiate the contact and Zarba correctly called an offensive foul on the play. The play was reminiscent of what former Indiana Pacers great Reggie Miller used to do. Miller was sitting a few feet away from the Harden play, commentating for TNT as an analyst.