Denton: Magic-Bobcats Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
April 6, 2011


  • Getting the start at shooting guard in the place of Jason Richardson (sore knees), Arenas had his finest game in a Magic uniform. He made nine of 14 shots and six of 11 3-pointers in 45 minutes to eclipse his previous high of 22 points in a Magic uniform.

    Arenas made his first three 3-pointers and then passed up an open shot for a Howard dunk. He aggressively sought out shots and played free, drilling open looks and a couple of step-back jumpers. Arenas finished the first half by making six of nine shots for 15 points.

    ``I was just going to shoot it,’’ Arenas said. ``Usually when I come into a game I’m thinking about distributing it and shooting it second, but since I was at (shooting guard), I thought I might as well go out there and be a scorer for the first time.’’

  • Nelson played much like he did last spring in the playoffs, gashing the Bobcats with clutch jump shots, pick-and-roll drives to the rim and passes to set up others for open looks.

    Nelson scored six straight points in the fourth quarter to put the Magic up 94-91, but that lead was squandered in part because of two Nelson turnovers. But after Augustin stripped Nelson of the ball, the Magic point guard hustled back on defense and contested the layup that was missed.

    Nelson made up for it in overtime, attacking and controlling the game. On the night he made eight of 12 shots and two of four 3-pointers.

    ``Of course, you want to win as many games as possible. Fifty is a nice round number, but 60 is better,’’ Nelson said. ``It’s one of those things we pride ourselves on in our locker room, getting 50-plus wins and setting ourselves up to be one of the better teams in the NBA.’’


  • The NBA is obviously out to make a point with Howard after whistling him for a 10-second violation on free throw attempts for a second time in as many nights and a third time this season. On Wednesday night, it was veteran referee Bennett Salvatore, who called Howard for taking too long to get off a free throw attempt.

    So far this season, veteran officials Bob Delaney, Dick Bavetta and Salvatore have whistled Howard for 10-second violations on free throws. Those three officials will undoubtedly be working in the playoffs, so Howard will have to make adjustments before the postseason.

    Howard compounded the problem by frustratingly rolling the ball away from the officials for his 18th technical foul of the season. Unless the technical foul is rescinded by the NBA, it will result in Howard being suspended for Sunday’s game against Derrick Rose and the Bulls.

    ``They made the one call on Christmas Day and then he quickened it up a little bit. They haven’t called it for a long time and now they have called it two games in a row,’’ Van Gundy said of Howard’s free throw form. ``He has to be aware that there’s a rule and for whatever reason they are deciding to enforce it. They don’t do it on a consistent basis and we can’t be giving away points so he’s going to have to get his routine quickened up a little bit.’’

  • Richardson and Henderson got tangled up early in the game and then tempers exploded when they collided again midway through the fourth quarter. Henderson, who scored a career-high 32 points, appeared to nick Richardson with an elbow on a hard drive.

    The two went nose to nose and then the fiery Richardson shoved Henderson in the face to escalate the fracas. Then, when Charlotte center Kwame Brown shoved Richardson, Turkoglu got involved by trying to pull Brown out of the fight.

    Richardson was ejected and will likely face a suspension for Sunday’s game. Turkoglu, Brown and Henderson were all hit with technical fouls.


  • Charlotte coach Paul Silas, a rugged rebounder himself during his playing days with the Boston Celtics, had some kind words before the game for Howard’s rugged defense and rebounding abilities.

    ``People don’t understand how tough it is to defend and rebound and you have to come with it every night. As an offensive player you are going to have ups and downs. But not as a rebounder and defender,’’ Silas said. ``Every might you have to come with it and I like what he does. He just overpowers people. People don’t fight him back very much and that’s the problem that I have, that you have to challenge him too.’’

    Howard then went out and displayed his defensive wares, blocking six shots in the game.

  • The Magic four consecutive 50-win seasons is the NBA’s third-longest such streak. San Antonio is first with an incredible 12 straight 50-win seasons, while Dallas is second with 11 50-win years.

    The Magic have now won 52, 59, 59 and 50 games the past four seasons under Van Gundy.


    John Denton writes for E-mail John at Submit a question to John for his mailbag segment at