Denton: Magic-Suns Postgame Analysis
By John Denton
March 13, 2011
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Howard made nine of 17 shots, hit eight of 13 free throws and five of his 15 boards came on the offensive end. He converted five dunks and seemed to attack especially hard after Lopez took what appeared to be a flagrant whack across Howard’s arms and wrists.
Howard took particular delight in going against Gortat, who had to face the Magic big man in practice for the better part of the past four seasons. And Gortat’s pregame comments were brought to Howard’s attention by his teammates. Gortat did do well offensively against Howard, hitting six of nine shots.
``They showed that to me before the game, so I was pretty amped up,’’ Howard said. ``We didn’t talk a lot because he had his game face on. I knew he was going to shoot all jump shots. Every day in practice when he gets the ball it’s the first thing he does. So I figured he was going to come out and do that. His (picture) was on a building and he looked good, so I’m happy for him.’’
Nelson had 14 points and three 3-pointers before banging knees with Aaron Brooks and resting most of the second half. Turkoglu scored 13 points, grabbed seven boards and hit a deep 3-pointer when the defense went under a screen on a designed play.
``As long as I’m coming off screens aggressive and looking for my shots I can keep playing like this,’’ Turkoglu said. ``My shots are up and my scoring is up lately because I’m back in a position to do the things that I’m good at.’’
WHAT WENT WRONG
Even with Nash out of the game, Carter didn’t have an assist in 23 minutes. And at one point his Suns missed 12 straight shots at the end of the third period and the start of the fourth. During that stretch, Phoenix went 8 minutes, 44 seconds without a field goal.
It had to sting Carter, a Daytona Beach native, that the Magic dealt him away early this season and he’ll likely be home for the playoffs this spring unless the Suns can get Nash (pelvic instability) healthy and make a run at the eighth spot.
Carter chose not to talk to the media before the game about his rematch against his former team and he didn’t stick around long afterwards to analyze the postmortem.
``I didn’t even know about that because I never look at points,’’ Howard said half-jokingly. ``Rebounds and blocked shots, that’s what I look at. Points don’t win championships; defending and rebounding wins championships.’’
Arenas made hit two 3-pointers and got to the free throw line five times (with four makes). He finished the game with 16 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Bass took advantage of the Suns lack of a true power forward by scoring 17 points. He repeatedly got to the rim for powerful finishes. He made seven of 10 shots and finished with 17 points and six rebounds. The Magic would certainly take the same kind of performance from Bass Monday night against Pau Gasol.
``It’s going to be a real challenge facing one of the best teams in the league on their home floor,’’ Nelson said. ``We know going in that they aren’t the same team that we beat a month ago and we’ll have to be ready to play against those guys.’’