Denton: Magic-Pacers Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
January 26, 2011


WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Focused and ready from the start after having some battles with Indiana center Roy Hibbert in the past, Howard set the tone right away with three powerful plays in the post in the first 3 minutes of the game.

    Two of those power moves were dunks that led the rim and backboard shaking for several seconds and brought Magic players up off the bench in celebration.

    ``We have to play inside-out and when we do that it’s when we have the most success,’’ said Howard, who was somewhat angered that the Magic got away from their strategy in Monday’s loss to Detroit. ``We’ve got to continue to play like this. There are going to be games where we don’t play as well, but we have to keep working to get the job done.’’

    Van Gundy marveled at the focus and intensity that his center, who is expected to be named an All-Star starter tomorrow for a fourth consecutive year, had early in the game.

    ``I thought he was great early on,’’ Van Gundy said of Howard, who made eight of 16 shots. ``As much as anybody they try to load up on him and make it tough to throw him the ball inside and bring a second defender and it leaves (a shooter) open.’’


  • Bouncing back from a poor shooting night on Monday against Detroit, the Magic were scorching hot from the field in the first half Wednesday night. Orlando hit 59 percent of its shots and a jaw-dropping nine of 16 tries from beyond the 3-point stripe. Seven of those 3-pointers (on just 10 attempts) rained down in the second period.

    Not surprisingly, all nine of the first-half 3-pointers came from reserve players. Anderson continued his torrid shooting of late, scoring 11 points in the second quarter alone while also hitting four first-half 3-pointers. Gilbert Arenas had two first-half 3-pointers, including a clutch one in the final second of the first period.

    ``I just come off the screens and read the situation and usually we have someone open for a three,’’ said Turkoglu, who made seven of 10 shots and also had six rebounds and four assists. ``I look inside first to Dwight, see how they are playing him and run our play through that. If we spread the floor and make the extra pass we can get lots of open shots and really hurt teams from the 3-point line.’’


  • WHAT WENT WRONG

  • Danny Granger finished with 27 points, indicating that the Magic might still be struggling defensively on the perimeter. But Turkoglu actually played Granger especially well, closing out on his jump shots and making him work hard for his points.

    Granger made just six of 19 shots and missed eight of his 11 3-point tries. He did get to the free throw line 13 times (with 12 makes), but he only had one assist because Turkoglu and Jason Richardson stayed in front of him.

    ``He’s a guy who can get hot easily and I tried to be close by him all night and make his job really hard,’’ Turkoglu said. ``I didn’t want to let him catch the ball in his comfort zones and keep him guessing. It was important for us to play better defensively. Offense is no problem for us, but as long as we’re getting stops we’re going to win the game.’’


  • After Indiana suffered its worst home loss of the season, several fans inside of Conseco Fieldhouse were seen wearing brown paper sacks on their heads. Head coach Jim O’Brien, whose job is reportedly on the line depending on how the Pacers close the season, wasn’t happy with his team’s sloppy defense against the Magic’s shooters.

    ``Our rotations were very sloppy in the second quarter and we had lapses on the perimeter that we shouldn’t have,’’ said O’Brien, whose Pacers have lost six in a row. ``Sometimes you have games where you’re not focused on the little things, and that’s what happened (on Wednesday).’’


  • FINAL OBSERVATIONS

  • Several Magic players had fun with the ``Area 55’’ nickname given to Hibbert by the public-address announcer during pregame introductions. When Howard dunked on Hibbert with authority, several Magic players along the bench howled at Hibbert and mocked his ``Area 55’’ nickname.


  • With the Pacers 10 games below .500 – the Indy .500 if you will – don’t be surprised the Pacers unload a couple of veteran players who could aid a contending team in the championship hunt.

    Jeff Foster is in the final year of a contract that pays him $6.6 million and is defensive-minded center who can play off the bench. Veteran small forward James Posey, who has Finals experience with the Heat and Celtics, could also be had for the right package. The sticking point, however, is that he is still owed $6.9 million next season.

    Could the Magic possibly be interested in one or both Pacers players before the NBA trade deadline? Foster would provide depth at center behind Howard, while Posey would give the Magic a rugged wing defender to throw at Miami’s LeBron James and Boston’s Paul Pierce.


  • In a classy gesture, veteran referee Dick Bavetta went over during a timeout in the fourth quarter and apologized to Anderson for badly missing a call minutes earlier.

    Indiana’s Danny Granger drove by Jason Richardson but was greeted at the rim by Anderson, who swatted the shot. The only contact on the play was Granger’s follow-through hand hitting Anderson in the forehead yet Anderson was whistled for a foul call on the play.


  • J.J. Redick, who had 10 points, three assists and two 3-pointers is engaged in a heated Scrabble game with Anderson. The two play wirelessly over their Apple i-pad devices. Just after the game, Anderson was giving Redick grief for using random words rarely ever used in every day speech.

    ``I don’t use them if they’re not double-word scores,’’ gloated Redick, who went into Wednesday night holding a sizeable lead.


  • 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.