Denton: Magic-Knicks Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
March 1, 2011


WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Magic coach Stan Van Gundy recently denied putting in more pick-and-roll plays for Nelson after their summit last week, but that’s pretty much the only set Orlando ran late in the game. Nelson produced out of the set, hitting nine of 13 shots, two 3-pointers and three of his four free throws in the second half.

    Nelson had just three points in the first half, but at one point in the fourth quarter he scored an incredible 11 consecutive points for the Magic. During that scoring spree by Nelson the Magic went from up four points to holding a commanding 108-99 advantage.

    ``I had to (attack), not necessarily for me to score, but to get into the paint and try to put the pressure on their defense,’’ said Nelson, whose clutch play helped the Magic overcome a five-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter. ``No respect to anyone on my team, but I was the guy out there trying to make the plays.’’

  • Prior to playing 19 minutes on Tuesday, Richardson had played that many minutes just once since late December. Similarly, Duhon played double-digit minutes on Tuesday night for just the second time since mid-December.

    Richardson had a 3-pointer, a tough hook shot in traffic and two layups, but his biggest contribution was his defense against Anthony. The NBA’s fifth-leading scorer made just eight of 24 shots, most of them fadeaways and contested attempts when the 6-foot-7, 228-pound Richardson kept Anthony away from the rim.

    ``Melo likes to play `bully ball’ and with him being 6-8 he just bullies guys around at his position and gets his points that way,’’ Richardson said. ``My best attribute is my strength and I wasn’t going to just let him push me around. I said to myself whatever I did I was going to stay between him and the basket and at least make it uncomfortable for him.’’

    As for Duhon, he was forced into action when Gilbert Arenas was unable to play because of a sore left knee. Duhon steadied the Magic offense when Nelson rested and his five assists and one turnover in 12 minutes were a big plus.

    ``I haven’t been playing, but I was trying to think of things in the big picture,’’ Duhon said. ``I’ve been doing my work in practice and staying after to do extra things to make sure I was ready when I got my chance to play.

  • When Howard snagged his ninth rebound of the game early in the third quarter he notched another piece of NBA history.

    Howard became the youngest player ever to grab 7,000 rebounds, doing so at the ripe old age of 25 years and 83 days. Already the NBA record holder for the fastest to 5,000 and 6,000 rebounds, the Magic’s star center broke the 7,000-rebound record set previously by Wilt Champerlain, who was 26 years, 128 days old.

    He carried the Magic early in the game with 17 points, and his rolling down the lane late in the game freed up players such as Nelson, Redick and Anderson for open jump shots.

  • WHAT WENT WRONG

  • Already without Arenas, the Magic suffered a major blow in the second quarter when Hedo Turkoglu suffered a meltdown and was thrown out of the game in a bizarre 40-second stretch.

    When Turkoglu was called for his third foul of the first half, he objected profusely to referee Curtis Blair and was hit with a technical foul. Then, 40 seconds later, Turkoglu complained about a non-call from the bench and was thrown out of the game by referee Jason Phillips.

    Joked Howard: ``I was standing right next to the ref and it sounded like Turk said, `Muahhhhh bllllaahahh bllalalaaaaa.’ We’ve got to teach Turk some English.’’

    In just 12 minutes of time on the court, Turkoglu missed all four of his shots. He did have two assists – both resulting in Howard alley-oop dunks.

    With Turkoglu out, the Magic moved Jason Richardson to small forward and started J.J. Redick at shooting guard to begin the second half.

  • The first half took a bizarre turnaround when the Magic raced to an early 12-point lead thanks to a 14-0 spurt – nine of which were provided by Howard. But the Knicks seemed to take control in the game in the second quarter with Howard on the bench. A 21-7 run by the Knicks to start the second quarter put the Knicks into the lead.

    The Knicks led 58-47 at the half – their biggest advantage of the night – by getting a combined 42 points from their Big 3 of Stoudemire, Anthony and Billups in the first two quarters. New York outscored Orlando 37-15 in the second quarter.

    Said Van Gundy: ``It was a miserable second quarter, maybe our worst quarter of the year.’’

  • FINAL OBSERVATIONS

  • Nelson rolled his left ankle when he came down on Billups’ foot with 4 minutes to play in the game, but he didn’t stay out long at all. Richardson even joked that Nelson ``faked an injury’’ so that he could get a quick rest in the fourth quarter.

    Nelson said the game was too important to the Magic for him to miss the final minutes of the win.

    ``At that point in the game, no matter what, I had to go back into the game,’’ Nelson said. ``No disrespect to anybody, but I just wanted to finish the game. Chris did a great job for us and took care of business, but I had to get back in.’’

  • Keeping Howard from picking up his 16th technical foul – which would result in a NBA-mandated one-game suspension – is apparently a team effort.

    When Howard objected to a foul call in the first half, he disgustedly rolled the ball toward the Magic bench instead of throwing it to the referee. To make sure that no technical foul or delay of game violation was called, both Van Gundy and point guard Jameer Nelson scurried after the ball and quickly got it back to the official.

  • The game incredibly featured 97 free throw attempts and took 2 hours, 36 minutes to play. The Magic made 36 of 50 free throws, while the Knicks hit on 39 of 47 tries. Billups had 20 free throw attempts (with 18 makes), while Howard got to the line 17 times (with 12 makes).

    ``We don’t want to put those guys on the line,’’ said Stoudemire, who made 10 of 14 free throws on Tuesday. ``It stops our offense when we put them on the line. It stops our flow and slows us up. We definitely don’t want that to happen again.’’

    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.