Denton: Magic-Pistons Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
January 24, 2011


WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Ryan Anderson once again tied his career high with 21 points and added five rebounds and three blocked shots in 26 minutes off the bench. Anderson scored 12 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Magic within striking range, but he misfired on a 3-pointer and a free throw down the stretch that hurt. His one miss on a 3-pointer was thunderously dunked by Jason Richardson with 4:45 to play to draw the Magic within 91-86.

    For the game, Anderson made five of 11 shots, four of 10 3-pointers and seven of eight free throws.

    Anderson also scored 21 points in Friday’s rout of the Toronto Raptors. Over the past 10 games, Anderson has averaged 16.1 points per game and is shooting 44.4 percent from the 3-point stripe. He’s scored in double figures 17 times this season, 10 of them coming in the past 10 games.

  • As has been the case for the past two weeks, Howard was mostly unstoppable inside. Howard, who was named the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week earlier in the day for the third time this season, made eight of 13 shots and hauled in seven offensive rebounds.

    But with the Magic playing from behind most of the night, they stopped going inside to consensus All-NBA center in the second half. Howard had just six shot attempts in the second half, and most of them came after getting offensive boards off misses.

    ``We’ve just got to play. Everybody knows what to do. We’re professional athletes,’’ Howard said. ``We know what to do, so it’s on us.’’

  • WHAT WENT WRONG

  • Hedo Turkoglu grabbed eight rebounds and dished out seven assists, but it was an otherwise dismal night for him. He missed his first six shots, finished with just four points and turned the ball over three times.

    Richardson (six points) made just three of 11 shots and missed all six of his 3-point shots. And while Gilbert Arenas (nine points) played well early on, he had little impact in the second half and turned the ball over twice.

  • McGrady rolled back the clock and had a dominant first half, putting up points in benches the way he did during his four seasons in Orlando from 2000-04.

    Put back into a role where he has the ball in his hands and can makes plays, McGrady scored 17 points, grabbed three rebounds, handed out three assists and swiped two steals. T-Mac made seven of 14 shots in the first half, including a vintage one-one-one jumper over Gilbert Arenas to end the first quarter that put Detroit up 27-26.

    ``It’s a great situation for me, one that’s going to prolong my career,’’ the 31-year-old McGrady said of switching to point guard. ``It’s a skill that I was blessed to have. I lost a little bit of my athleticism, lost a step because I’m not that young and I’m not the guy I once was. But it’s great. I look forward to embracing this role and getting better as the games move on.’’

    McGrady was a four-time All-NBA performer in Orlando and twice led the NBA in scoring – 32.1 ppg. in 2002-03 and 28 ppg. in 2003-04. But he said that facilitating – instead of scoring – is a role he’s always been more comfortable with.

    ``I’ve always been unselfish, man. Really, I was just put in the situation when I came to Orlando to score,’’ McGrady said. ``I didn’t know that I had the ability to score the way I did. I was always a guy that could get you 10 or 12 points, eight or nine assists, get you five, six or seven rebounds, a couple blocks, a couple steals. When I was younger, that’s how I envisioned my career being, just being an all-around player. (Leading the league in scoring) just wasn’t part of my thought process when I was a younger player, but I was put in that situation because Grant Hill was out and it was left for me to do. So this (point guard) role is easy for me.’’

  • The Magic had a couple instances of confusion late in the game with fouls.

    Howard was told to foul Detroit rookie center Greg Monroe if he rebounded a missed free throw late in the game, but Howard committed the foul without Monroe having the ball. It resulted in Rodney Stuckey (16 points) making a free throw and the Pistons getting the ball back.

    And Nelson twice fouled Stuckey down the stretch even though the Pistons point guard entered game ranked 22nd in the NBA in free throw percentage at 86.3 percent. Stuckey, a Magic killer from years ago, made all seven of his free throws on Monday night.

    ``Not him,’’ Van Gundy said to Nelson along the sidelines.

  • FINAL OBSERVATIONS

  • With McGrady off to a fast start in the first half and Arenas attacking the rim early in the game, it conjured up memories of the epic March 10, 2004 battle between the two former stars when they played for Orlando and Washington, respectively.

    Many people forget on the night when McGrady set a Magic franchise record with 62 points that Arenas had 40 points for the Wizards. McGrady still laments missing on a chance to score 70 or possibly even 80 points that night. Mostly because of fatigue, McGrady had just one field goal and missed six free throws in the fourth period of that Magic win.

  • Curiously former Magic killer, Richard Hamilton, did not play for the Pistons. Benched for an eighth straight game, Hamilton reportedly declined to meet with Detroit head coach John Kuester recently to discuss the plan for Hamilton in the Pistons’ plans.

    Hamilton was rumored to be a part of a massive three-team trade that would have sent Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Hamilton to the New Jersey, but the Nets backed out of the deal last week after deeming the asking price to be too high.

  • In three games against the Magic this season, Prince made 27 of 41 shots (65.8 percent) while averaging 22 points. And the lanky Daye looked like a young Prince on Monday by draining all four of his 3-point shots.

    ``Don’t leave me in the fourth because I’m going for dagger threes,’’ Daye said. ``I’m trying to find the line and take some air out of the arena.’’

    READ 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.