Denton: Magic-Celtics Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
January 17, 2011


WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Unlike on Christmas Day when he was saddled with foul trouble, Howard was aggressive and attacking throughout against the Celtics’ big frontline. He made hook shots with both hands, dunked repeatedly and even made two banked-in jump shots from the wing.

    For the game, Howard made 10 of 19 shots and 13 of 18 free throws. He scored almost at will against Shaquille O’Neal, Glen Davis and even Garnett. And he even playfully stuck out his tongue at Garnett late in the game when the Boston star tried trash-talking him near the rim.

    ``That was just me having fun,’’ Howard said. ``They can’t get in my head no matter how hard they try. I was smiling out there because I was having fun. There’s no need for me to act like I’m all upset out there.’’


  • Anderson’s season has been a roller coaster of emotions what with him being knocked out of the rotation, injuring his foot and being hit with a nasty stomach virus that left him eight pounds lighter.

    But Anderson has finally found his shooting rhythm and is showing why he is a highly coveted player in Orlando. With his 16 points, eight rebounds, four 3-pointers and five offensive boards, Anderson proved he deserved to be on the floor in the big minutes of a critical game. And with the way the Magic have struggled opening games of late, a starting nod could be in the works for Anderson very soon.

    Anderson dug the Magic out of another slow start with a torrid stretch of four straight 3-pointers at the end of the first period and the start of the second quarter. Anderson’s shots keyed a 14-3 run that took the Magic from being down 24-14 to up 28-27.

    ``That’s sort of the spark that I can bring off the bench,’’ Anderson said. ``I was getting shots and I was feeling it out there. I knew they were going to sink in on Dwight because he’s a load down there and that would open up shots for me.’’

    Anderson, a third-year pro, entered Monday on a great roll shooting the ball, especially from the 3-point stripe. In the five games before Monday, Anderson made 15 of 32 3-pointers and scored in double figures in all five games.


  • WHAT WENT WRONG

  • For the ninth time in the past 11 games – a stretch that dates all the way back to the Magic-Celtics first game in Christmas Day – Orlando has trailed after one period of play.

    This time, the Magic were behind 27-22, but it certainly could have been much worse if not for the hot shooting by Anderson. The Celtics led by as much as 10 points in the first quarter while shooting 60 percent – many of them on dunks set up by Rondo’s six first-quarter assists.

    ``We’re digging out of double-digit holes every game, trying to climb out of them,’’ Van Gundy fumed. ``The history of this league will tell you – people want to say that it’s a fourth-quarter league – but it’s really a first-quarter league. We’re behind all of the time and we’re behind big early in the game.’’

    In the past 11 games, the Magic are now being outscored 26.3 to 23.7 in the first quarter of games. The only two games where the Magic have led after one period are against Milwaukee (25-17) on Jan. 5 and against New Orleans (21-17) on Jan. 12.


  • Boston’s top seven players all made better than 50 percent of their shots, leading to the Celtics shooting a staggering 60 percent from the floor. That’s the highest percentage that an opponent has shot against the Magic all season, besting the 59 percent that the Utah Jazz connected on against Orlando back in early December.

    ``They outhustled us on plays and we have to get to work on our defense,’’ said Turkoglu, who held Pierce (14 points) in check most of the night. ``We can’t keep allowing teams to shoot a high percentage against us the whole game. It’s about doing a lot of the little things to get better defensively.’’


  • FINAL OBSERVATIONS

  • Turkoglu and Garnett had a somewhat testy – but ultimately funny – exchange in the third quarter. Turkoglu hammered Garnett after the whistle, hitting him in the head and across the arms.

    But as Garnett overreacted to the contact – doesn’t he always??? – Turkoglu already had a hand extended for a high five. Garnett smacked hands with Turkoglu, the situation was diffused and all was forgiven.


  • For a second straight game, the Magic had a rare four-point play at a critical juncture.

    On Saturday in Minnesota, J.J. Redick hit a 3-pointer as he was hammered by Timberwolves wing players Corey Brewer and Wes Johnson and he subsequently made the free throw.

    On Monday, the Magic closed the first half with a different sort of four-point play that drew them within 55-54 at the break. Brandon Bass snatched a rebound and finished over Luke Harangody, eliciting an angry response from Boston coach Doc Rivers. Rivers, who wanted a travel call, was whistled for a technical foul and Redick knocked down the free throw. Bass then finished off the four-point play with a free throw of his own.


  • The fans inside TD Garden booed loudly between the third and fourth quarters when the image on the JumboTron was of a group of girls wearing Magic jerseys.

    As it turns out, one of the girls was Shannon Van Gundy, daughter of the Magic head coach. She wore a blue No. 1 jersey with ``VAN GUNDY’’ across the back.


  • Several players on both teams complained about the temperature in the arena upon coming out for pregame warm-ups and many even blew on their shooting hands for warmth.

    Earlier in the day, the Boston Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 7-0 earlier in a NHL matinee. Crews at the TD Garden quickly turned over the arena to make it NBA ready, but a drafty chill persisted much to the dismay of the NBA players.


  • READ DENTON'S ENTIRE ANALYSIS

    John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. E-mail John at jd41898@aol.com. Submit a question to John for his mailbag segment at AskJD@orlandomagic.com.