Denton's Dish: Magic at Bucks (2/11/12)



By John Denton
February 11, 2012


Less than 24 hours after missing a game-tying free throw and a potential game-winning 3-pointer, Orlando Magic shooting guard Jason Richardson rarely missed anything at all in the second half on Saturday night.

And, at least in part, there was a Milwaukee Bucks’ fan to thank for Richardson’s record-tying shooting performance.

Richardson more than atoned for his Friday misses against the Atlanta Hawks by making nine 3-pointers, including a franchise record-tying eight in the second half, as the Magic surged past the Bucks 99-94.

Down 88-78 with 5:45 to play after yielding 13 straight Milwaukee points, the Magic put together a game-turning 16-0 run. Richardson hit a jaw-dropping four 3-pointers during that Magic run – the final one coming with blood coming out of his lip after being hit by a Mike Dunleavy elbow.

For Richardson, the nine 3-pointers were a personal high for his career and the second most by a Magic player in franchise history. (Only Dennis Scott made more with 11 3-pointers in 1996.) Richardson's eight second-half threes tied the franchise record set by Tracy McGrady in 2004.

What mattered most to Richardson was making up for the missed 3-pointer at the end of Monday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and the missed 3-pointer in overtime on Friday against the Hawks.

``I’ve had games like this in my career, but I really wanted to make this up to my teammates,’’ said Richardson, who scored 31 points. ``I had two games this week where I could have tied the game or won it and missed a free throw. I had to make up for those two games.


The Magic (17-11) beat the Bucks (12-15) for the 14th time in the past 17 meetings and the 11th straight time with franchise center Dwight Howard on the floor. Over the final 5:30 of the game, the Magic outscored the Milwaukee 21-6 by making seven of 11 shots and five of seven 3-pointers.

``It was a great comeback and we got some stops down the stretch,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``(Richardson) has had a couple of shots go in an out for us late in games with a chance to win and he loves being in those situations. He put on a show tonight.’’

The Magic are off today, but return to action Monday night at the Amway Center against the much-improved Minnesota Timberwolves. Power forward Kevin Love is a first-time all-star, while Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio is a top candidate for the Rookie of the Year award. The T-Wolves lost 100-98 to New York and standout guard Jeremy Lin (20 points) on Saturday night in Minnesota.

Here’s a closer look at some of the key moments from Saturday’s game at Milwaukee’s Bradley Center:


    MAGICAL MOMENTS

  • Richardson has struggled much of this season when playing on consecutive nights and Saturday looked to be another instance of that when he slogged through a three-point first half.

    But Richardson came alive in the third quarter, hitting six of nine shots and four of five 3-point shots. He had 16 points in the third period, including a spectacular alley-oop dunk off a pass from Jameer Nelson.

    Richardson opened the second half with a 3-pointer. Then, seconds later, Richardson made a midrange shot off a curl play recently installed by Van Gundy to get the veteran shooting guard more involved in the offense. He followed that shot up by hitting two more 3-pointers to allow the Magic to get even at 56-all.

    Another 3-pointer off a cross-court pass by Turkoglu and the dazzling alley-oop dunk completed Richardson’s best stretch of basketball this season.

    And he was even better in the fourth quarter when he made four more 3-pointers. Afterward, Richardson said it was a heckler in the crowd at the Bradley Center who fired him up after a poor first half.

    ``It was a fan heckling me, telling me that I was washed up. That got me going,’’ Richardson said. ``I’m only 31 and I’ve been in the league for 11 years. Having him say that really got me going. I got mentally into the game, zoned in and everything started dropping. I’d like to thank that (heckler) for getting me going.’’


  • With Hedo Turkoglu mired in an ugly funk over the past four games, the Magic coaching staff contemplated resting the veteran small forward on Saturday night.

    But Turkoglu wanted to play, and it’s a good thing that he did. He broke out of his slump with 19 points, six assists, five rebounds and three 3-pointers.

    In his previous four games, Turkoglu had shot just 22 percent from the floor and hit just three of 20 3-pointers. But he directed the Magic offense much of Saturday and the team was a plus-17 in point differential in his 32 minutes on the floor.

    ``I thought he was great. Down the stretch he made good decisions and good plays,’’ Van Gundy said of Turkoglu. ``He hit a big three when they went under on a pick-and-roll and got to the rim for a layup late in the game.’’


  • J.J. Redick entered the game first in the NBA in free throw percentage at 95.5 percent. Before Saturday he had missed just three free throws all season – and not one since Jan. 18 against San Antonio.

    Redick hadn’t gotten to the free throw line in the previous three games, but he was in attack mode early on Saturday and that helped him get some freebie points from the stripe. He led the Magic with 12 first-half points.

    Redick made five free throws in the first half, pushing his consecutive free throw streak to 31 in a row without a miss. He finished with 14 points.


  • MAGIC MYSTERY

  • When Van Gundy called timeout midway through the second quarter, he harped on one point – the 11 offensive rebounds that the Magic had allowed. Milwaukee ultimately grabbed 12 offensive boards in the first half, leading to a 16-5 edge in second-chance points.

    The Magic were outhustled on the boards early in the game, especially when Howard went to the bench for a rest. Hustle player Ersan Ilyasova grabbed four offensive boards in the first half, while guard Shaun Livingston snagged three offensive rebounds.

    The 12 offensive boards for the Bucks helped them hold a 28-17 edge on the glass in the first half. That board work helped Milwaukee get off 16 more field goal attempts in the first half.

    ``In the first half they outworked us and dominated us on the glass,’’ Van Gundy said. ``We couldn’t keep Ilyasova off the glass and their energy was too much for us. But in the second half, I thought our offense was pretty good. And we finished up great.’’

    Dunleavy and Ilyasova used the second chances to hurt the Magic in the first half by combining for 20 points. Dunleavy came off the bench and scored eight straight points in a 90-second stretch.


  • MAGIC MOVES

  • Richardson bettered his previous career high of eight 3-pointers set in 2007 when he was a member of the Golden State Warriors. Van Gundy said that he reminded Richardson at Saturday morning’s walk-through at the hotel that he still trusted him as a late-game shooter for the Magic. He liked that Richardson wanted the ball Saturday night after failing on Monday and Friday in those similar situations.

    ``It tells you about his character and confidence and it certainly didn’t make him shy away,’’ Van Gundy said. ``I told him this morning at the walk-through that as long as you are here we’re going to keep putting you in the position to make those shots. He’s done it his whole career. He’s really good in those situations.

    ``The key thing for those guys – whether it’s Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade – failure can’t bother you because in those situations you are going to miss more than you make,’’ Van Gundy continued. ``Those are hard shots, but you make some because you don’t let the past failures make you gun shy.’’


  • When the Magic arrived in Milwaukee early Saturday morning at 2 a.m. the temperature in the area was at a negative-14. By tipoff on Saturday night the temperature had risen to a whopping 16 degrees with the wind chill sitting at negative-2 because of 15 mile per hour winds out of the northwest.


  • Howard finally got a break when it comes to his issue with technical fouls. He’s been whistled for eight technical fouls, but the NBA league office recently rescinded a technical foul picked up last week against the Washington Wizards.

    Upset by a non-call on a post move, Howard flipped the ball backward and it went into the courtside seats. League officials ruled that the play should have been deemed a delay of game instead of a T and rescinded the technical foul.

    Howard’s seven technical fouls rank second in the NBA behind only Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins. Because of the condensed schedule this season players are allowed only 13 technical fouls before they are subject to one-game suspensions.

    Howard entered the game shooting 56 percent from the floor, but suffered through an uncharacteristic five of 15 shooting night. He had only 11 points against Drew Gooden (21 points), but Howard impacted the game in other ways with 14 rebounds and four blocked shots.


  • Ryan Anderson scored only nine points and made just one 3-pointer, low numbers for the NBA leader in 3-pointers made.

    But he had a huge impact with seven rebounds, four of which came on the offensive glass. Anderson’s biggest board of the night came in the final four minutes and set up Richardson’s seventh 3-pointer of the night – a shot that got the Magic back to within 88-86.


John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997 and recently authored ``All You Can Be’’ with Magic center Dwight Howard. E-mail John at jd41898@aol.com

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