Denton: Magic-Blazers Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
March 7, 2011


WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • With Howard out, the Magic needed a monster game from some player and it proved to be Richardson, the hero of last week’s 24-point come-from-behind win against Miami.

    After a quiet first half, Richardson made two 3-pointers in the third quarter and two more in the fourth period. The back-to-back triples in the fourth quarter got the Magic tied at 74 for the first time since early in the first quarter. Richardson had 18 of his 22 points after halftime.

    Over the last three games, Richardson had made 14 of 20 3-pointers (70 percent), boosting his season percentage to 40 percent.

    ``I think everybody stepped up and that says a lot about this team,’’ Richardson said. ``We could have easily gone out there and said, `We’re without Dwight, so we’re not going to show up.’ But we went out there and battled and had a chance to win the game.’’

  • Looking as if they were dead in the water when Van Gundy had to call two timeouts to stop Portland bursts, the Magic had an impressive run of their own in the third quarter to stya close.

    Down 64-50, Orlando used a 14-1 to draw back within one point of the lead. Arenas, who missed four of his first five shots, jump-started the Magic with his energy on the fastbreak and shooting. He had a deep 3-pointer, a one-one-one shot from the foul line and a nifty bank shot on the break.

  • WHAT WENT WRONG

  • Nelson, one of the Magic’s co-captains, talked the day before Monday’s game about the need for everyone to step up their games to compensate for the loss of Howard.

    But Nelson, who played exceptionally well in recent wins against New York and Miami, struggled throughout this game with both his shooting and playmaking.

    Much of Nelson’s high pick-and-roll game was gone with Howard out, leaving him to have to create plays on his own. And that didn’t go well as Nelson had several of his passes tipped away and his shots rimmed out.

    Nelson played just six minutes in the second half, missing all three of his shots.

    ``The only guy who had a really bad night was Jameer,’’ Van Gundy said. ``He had a really, really bad night.’’

  • Howard is normally good for three or four turnovers a game because of offensive fouls and bobbles in the post, but he couldn’t be blamed for Orlando turning the ball over 12 times in the first half Monday night. In the first quarter alone, Orlando had nearly as many turnovers (seven) as field goals (eight).

    Half of the first-half turnovers came from point guards Nelson (four) and Arenas (two) in the first half. In all, seven Magic players committed a turnover in the first half.

    And things didn’t get much better in the second half with seven more miscues. The night was summed up with 3 minutes to play when Andre Miller swiped the dribble away from Arenas, it hit off the Magic point guard’s foot and went out of bounds for a turnover.

    Portland turned the ball over just nine times and they scored 16 points off the Magic’s 19 turnovers.

    Said Van Gundy: ``I thought Gil did some good things, but the (six) turnovers negated some of that.’’

  • FINAL OBSERVATIONS

  • Portland’s TV broadcasting crew of Mike Barrett and Mike Rice helped the Blazers get an extra point during the game.

    When Aldridge hit a long jumper in the second quarter at the end of the shot clock, it was originally ruled as a two-point shot. Barrett and Rice, after seeing replays, alerted the Portland bench that both of Aldridge’s feet were behind the 3-point line.

    At the request of Portland’s assistant coaches, lead official Bill Spooner reviewed the play during the next timeout. The original call was overruled and Portland got an extra point on the scoreboard.

  • Another review situation late in the fourth quarter took two points away from the Magic. Referees originally ruled that Anderson got off a layup attempt just before the 24-second shot clock, appearing to draw the Magic within 83-81 with 4:39 to play in the game.

    However, officials reviewed the play during the next timeout and replays showed that the shot clock expired before Anderson released the layup.

  • Richardson said the Magic would gladly welcome back their superstar center on Wednesday for the start of a nine-day, five-game roadtrip to the West Coast. The Magic will actually practice in Sacramento on Tuesday and Howard will be back with the starting five as opposed to scrimmaging with the second unit as he had to do on Sunday.

    Richardson liked the Magic’s hustle on Monday, but he wondered how things might have been different with Howard on the floor.

    ``It’s always a real big difference when you are missing your leader and your leading scorer in a game,’’ Richardson said. ``He’s a real defensive presence for us and might have taken away some of those layups. And no disrespect to (reserve center) Earl (Clark), but Dwight could have guarded Aldridge some there in the fourth quarter. We missed him, no doubt about it.’’

  • 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.