Denton: Magic-Celtics Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
February 6, 2011


  • Howard made the Celtics pay for their strategy of covering him with one defender early in the game, attacking in the post and scoring 22 first-half points. Howard did as he pleased, making nine of his first 14 shots and four of six free throws in the first half.

    But the Celtics swarming defense and his teammates’ shooting woes seemed to rub off on him in the second half. He made just one of six shots in the second half and on many possessions he didn’t even touch the ball because of missed 3-pointers and Orlando having trouble with entry passes.

    ``We stopped doing what had us in the game and started shooting threes,’’ Howard said. We shot like 12 percent from the three today. Instead of just shooting threes we have to have people willing to get to the rack. It can’t just be one missed shot every time down.’’


  • Boston point guard Rajon Rondo shredded the Magic in pick-and-roll plays, scoring 26 points and handing out seven assists. He made nine of 15 shots and seven of nine free throws.

    And the stretch where he hurt the Magic the most was late in the fourth quarter after Orlando had pulled to within 79-71. Boston’s offensive teamwork delivered three straight layups – one by Rondo and another off his assist to seal the game.

    Said Van Gundy: ``Rondo totally dominated us. He got to anywhere he wanted anytime that he wanted.’’

  • It will be interesting to see how the NBA handles Howard’s latest technical foul. Early in the second quarter, Howard was hammered in the post by Kendrick Perkins, who wrapped both of his arms around the Magic center.

    When Perkins continued to hold Howard, the all-NBA player flung his right arm back. That prompted referee Jason Phillips to whistle Howard with a technical foul. It is the 14th of the season for Howard, inching him closer to a game-suspension. NBA rules dictate that a player be suspended for one game and fined $5,000 after picking up a 16th technical foul. Players are then suspended another game on every other technical foul the rest of the regular season.

    Howard, easily the league’s most physical player whom referees have a difficult time officiating, has had four technical fouls rescinded this season. The NBA league office will undoubtedly review Sunday’s technical foul and the call could be overturned if it is deemed that Howard was justified in trying to chuck Perkins off of him.

    ``I was (just trying to get him off). If anything it should have been a double foul or a double tech, but I get penalized for it and it makes me look like I’m the bad guy and the villain, which is not the case. I’m a physical guy who will get in there and bang with anybody, but when a guy bear hugs me, I’m not going to just let him bear-hug me. That’s just how I am.’’

  • Van Gundy feels that the Celtics’ after-the-whistle antics had a lot to do with the Magic losing focus and adding to their frustrations on Sunday. The team talked before the game about not being drawn into Boston’s trash talk, but the Magic were whistled for three technical fouls.

    Point guard Jameer Nelson, who had 10 points and three assists, disputed the notion that the Magic might have been intimidated or distracted by the woofing Celtics.

    ``When you step on the court you’re not stepping into the boxing ring. Nobody is going to fight, but I don’t think we kept our composure or stayed focus,’’ said Nelson, who was hit with a technical foul in the second quarter. ``We lost our composure to a man. Nothing (the Celtics) did was new. We knew what the Celtics were going to do. We’ll see those guys again.’’

  • Arenas, who has struggled since the trade from Washington to Orlando on Dec. 18, didn’t score for the first time all season. And after the game, he ventured a guess that it might have been the first time in his NBA career that he failed to score in a game where he played extended minutes.

    Arenas, who played well on Friday in his return to Washington, missed all seven of his shots, committed four fouls and turned the ball over twice in almost 15 minutes. Arenas said recently that cold climates adversely affect his surgically repaired left knee, and on Sunday he said the afternoon start time bothered him.

    ``I haven’t liked the 2 o’clock games in the past because I can’t eat breakfast,’’ Arenas said. ``And (on Saturday) I slept all day, so I figured I’d put food in my system. So I came into the game a little weary.’’


  • Boston guard Marquis Daniels, an Orlando native, suffered a bruised spinal cord when he hit his forehead on Arenas’ shoulder on a drive to the hoop. Daniels, who has a history of neck problems, went down to the floor face-first after the hit and didn’t move for several minutes.

    He was placed in a neck brace, taken off the court on a stretcher and rushed to New England Baptist Hospital. Daniels eventually regained full function in his arms and legs, but will undergo a battery of tests over the next few days.

    ``This is the same type of neck injury that he had, but it’s just a little bit worse,’’ Celtics Chief Medical Officer Brian McKeon said. ``He’s had some spine issues in the past that have been addressed by other teams, so we’ll have to see how it plays out in the next few days.’’

    Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said that Daniels will miss at least a month of action.

  • Unlike in previous games against the Celtics, the Magic started strong and led 12-2 early in the first quarter. But despite that great start, the Magic still trailed 46-43 at the half because their shooting went ice cold late in the first period and throughout the second quarter.

    In the first half alone, Turkoglu (1 of 8), Richardson (0 of 4), Redick (0 of 4) and Arenas (0 of 4) combined to make just one of 20 shots. Orlando made 10 of its first 20 shots, but made just eight of the next 30 before halftime.

    Said Arenas: ``After that nine-game winning streak, things have just been a little different and we’re all trying to get a rhythm. Over the All-Star break, I’ll get a chance to work a lot on my game. I’ll try to get my feel back.’’

  • A bizarre sequence occurred in the third quarter when Orlando’s Ryan Anderson tipped in a missed shot, only to see the ball come flying back out of the basket.

    The problem was that Magic small forward Quentin Richardson got his hand caught in the net, pulling the rim down and causing the ball to eject back out. The referees conferred, but surprisingly the basket was allowed.

  • NBA coaches do the voting for the All-Star reserves, and Van Gundy said that he voted for four Celtics to make the team. Accordingly, Paul Pierce (18 points), Ray Allen (11 points), Kevin Garnett (16 points, nine rebounds) and Rondo all were named All-Star reserves.

    Allen, who entered the game needing five 3-pointers to tie Reggie Miller for the all-time NBA record, made two of four tries on Sunday. Allen now has 2,557 3-pointers compared to Miller’s 2,560.


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