Denton: Magic-Bulls Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
March 4, 2011


WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Nelson was aggressive and playing like the dazzling point guard who sparked Thursday’s monumental comeback. Even against superstar guard Derrick Rose (24 points), Nelson was able to get into the lane regularly and just about anywhere he wanted to on the floor.

    His passing set up efficient shooting nights from Howard (8 of 8), Bass (6 of 9) and Richardson (4 of 7 3s), but that foursome had little help from the Magic’s bench on either end of the floor.

  • WHAT WENT WRONG

  • Disaster struck in the second quarter when Howard reacted angrily to having his left forearm grabbed and held down by Kyle Korver and flung his elbow back at the Chicago small forward.

    Barring a reprieve from the NBA league office, Howard will be suspended for Monday’s game after picking up his 16th technical foul of the season. NBA rules mandate that players be suspended one game and fined $5,000 after exceeding the threshold of 16 technical fouls.

    Howard’s wild swing didn’t connect with Korver, but referee Ed Malloy still ruled that the Magic center made an attempt to strike Korver. In Howard’s defense, his arm was being held down after the whistle and he was making an attempt to free himself.

    Magic President of Basketball Operations/GM Otis Smith appealed to the NBA league office Friday morning, hoping to curtail some of the hard hits that Howard has taken to the shoulders and head of late. The Magic also hoped the league would do something about the extracurricular contact their center is taking after the whistle, as in the case Friday night with Korver.

    ``I don’t know what (Smith) can say or what we can do as an organization, but we’ve just got to continue to play through all of the situations,’’ Howard said. ``We’re going to fight through all of this and fight through the bad calls and the technical fouls.’’

    The NBA league office could deem the foul excessive and the technical foul could be rescinded. In addition to leading the NBA in technical fouls – one ahead of New York’s Amare Stoudemire –Howard has also had a league-high four T’s rescinded this season.

    Asked if he thought the league might rescind the technical foul, Howard shook his head. ``Nah, they’re not going to rescind it. I was aware of the situation, but I don’t think people understand when the play is over with and people are still fouling you. The ref has to do something or I have to do something to get them off,’’ Howard said. ``It’s not like I’m mad at anybody on their team, but if you are going to allow people to do stuff like that then there has to be some kind of consequence. It’s an uphill battle, but I’m going to keep running.’’

  • The Magic continued to get very little from struggling forward Hedo Turkoglu and reserve point guard Gilbert Arenas.

    Turkoglu scored just two points and had only two assists in 30 minutes of action. Van Gundy has gone away running pick-and-roll plays for Turkoglu, whose decision-making has been sketchy and his play tentative.

    In his last 73 minutes over three games, Turkoglu has scored just five points – one of which he was ejected from. He’s broken double figures in scoring in just one of the past nine games.

    As for Arenas, a night after making two clutch fourth-quarter 3-pointers in the comeback against Miami, he missed all five of his shots against the Bulls. He misfired four times from the 3-point line and at least three of the attempts seemed forced and off balance.

    Said Van Gundy: ``We knew it was going to be tough scoring against them because they are so great defensively, but I thought we took a lot of bad threes.’’

  • The game started well enough for the Magic with Orlando springing to an early 15-7 lead. It might have been a carryover of emotion from Thursday’s big comeback in Miami, but it certainly didn’t last long.

    Chicago stormed back, got the game tied by the end of the first quarter and dominated the second period. Orlando had no answers for Rose (15 points) and Luol Deng (11 points) in the first half. The Bulls also made four first-half 3-pointers – three in the second period – to outscore the Magic 28-14 in the second quarter.

  • FINAL OBSERVATIONS

  • J.J. Redick (2 of 9, seven points) has been consistently good all season, but Friday night was a forgettable game for the Magic shooting guard.

    Redick missed five of his first six shots, two of which that had to be particularly frustrating. Redick tried to finish over a defender on the fastbreak, but his layup attempt was short. Then, after swiping the ball from Chicago’s Luol Deng, Redick pulled up 1-3 on the fastbreak and launched a 3-pointer that was offline.

    Van Gundy pulled Redick in favor of Richardson after the rough stretch. Coincidentally, Redick’s poor night came against a Bulls team that signed him last July to a $19 million offer sheet, one ultimately matched by the Magic to retain the guard.

  • Howard’s frustrating night got a bit worse in the third quarter when he battled Chicago’s Carols Boozer and he accidentally tapped the ball into Chicago’s basket.

    But later in the fourth quarter had one of his best blocks of the season when he came from two steps away to pin Joakim Noah’s dunk attempt against the glass. The deflection hit off Noah, and the Magic used the dazzling play to convert a 3-pointer on the other end to get within seven points of the lead.

  • With a couple of pockets of Bulls fans in the crowd, there were dueling M-V-P chants throughout the game each time Rose and Howard went to the free throw line during the game. The two close friends are considered the two leading candidates to win the league’s most prestigious individual award.



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    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.