Denton's Dish: Magic vs. Cavaliers (3/23/12)
By John Denton
March 23, 2012
ORLANDO – A U.S. history major at Duke and one of the most well-read members of the Orlando Magic, J.J. Redick could teach his teammates a thing or two about politics, economics and world events.
After the Magic shared the ball about as well as they have at any point this season and battered the Cleveland Cavaliers 93-80, Redick analyzed the game in a worldly way that might take some explaining in his own locker room.
``That was an example of our socialist approach to sharing the basketball and the scoring,’’ Redick said, trying to keep a straight face. ``Just to be clear, democracy and capitalism are good for America, but socialism is good for the Orlando Magic.’’
And how many of the Magic players understand the share-the-wealth principles of socialism? ``I’m not sure many of them know what a democracy is,’’ Redick said with a chuckle.
All kidding aside, the Magic (31-18) shared the ball so well that superstar center Dwight Howard got just eight shots and they still coasted to an easy, breezy win. One of just two teams in the NBA with six players averaging double figures, Orlando got double-digit scoring from all five starters and had 24 assists on its 37 baskets.
Ryan Anderson led the way with 17 points, followed by 16 from Howard and 15 from Hedo Turkoglu. Jason Richardson added 11 points, while Jameer Nelson scored 10. Glen Davis and Redick were a basket away from double figures with nine and eight points for an Orlando team that shot 46.8 percent and made 12 3-pointers. The Magic improved to 18-3 this season when five players his double figures in scoring.
``We have to play that way. We have so many weapons that we can use throughout the game and it makes us dangerous,’’ said Turkoglu, who added seven assists and six rebounds. ``(Magic coach) Stan (Van Gundy) always makes the point if we hold the ball too much it lets the defense set and it makes our job harder. He always tell us to shoot if we have it, but don’t hold the ball. That what we did and it helped us get going and get the lead.’’
Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving, the leading candidate to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award, had 13 points and six assists, but he made just six of 15 shots. Veteran forward Antawn Jamison scored 16 points to lead the Cavs (17-28).
The Magic have a rare weekend off and don’t play again until Monday in Toronto. The team will take Saturday off and practice on Sunday before travelling to Canada. The Magic will then play in New York on Wednesday and won’t play at the Amway Center again until Friday against the Dallas Mavericks.
Here is a look back at some of the key plays from Friday night’s win at the Amway Center:
- Turkoglu used an emotional moment early in the game to fire himself up and ultimately produce one of his best games in week. When Turkoglu allowed Cleveland’s Alonzo Geee to get to the rim for an easy layup early on, several Magic players verbally got onto the small forward.
Turkoglu didn’t appreciate the criticism, but responded by playing much better defense and attacking on the offensive end of the floor. He was actively seeking out shots all night, making six of 10 field goals. He was also constantly probing the defense, resulting in his seven assists.
``In those situations guys are going to scream and yell sometimes, but that’s how you become a team,’’ Turkoglu said. ``We have to help each other out there. Guys are going to make mistakes, but we have to recover and not do it again. We all have to be on the same page out there.’’
- Orlando shared the ball as well in the first half as it has in weeks, carving up Cleveland for 56.1 percent shooting. And the Magic swung the ball well enough around the perimeter to hit nine of their 22 3-point shots in the first half.
The Magic’s ball movement was so crisp and on point that they have 16 assists on their 23 field goals in the first half. Anderson scored 13 points in the first half, while Jason Richardson routinely beat the Cavs down the court for 11 first-half points. Six Magic players had at least six points in the first half.
``We moved the ball and that’s when we play the best,’’ Anderson said. ``We had a ton of energy and we played together. We played the way that we want to play with a lot of energy and moving the ball.’’
- The Magic were virtually unstoppable offensively in the first half – when they were actually getting up shots. Turnovers continue to be an issue and Orlando kicked the ball away 11 times in Friday’s first half and 20 times in the game. They have now turned the ball over 96 times in the last five games.
``There are some (turnovers) where we are literally just giving the ball away,’’ Van Gundy said. ``We throw passes without even looking. That stuff has to stop.’’
The Magic have been attempting to curb their runaway turnovers of late with little success. They turned the ball over 20 times last week against New Jersey and Miami, had 19 turnovers versus Chicago and gave the ball away another 17 times on Wednesday against Phoenix.
The team’s goal is 13 turnovers a game, but it hasn’t been at or below that number since playing in San Antonio two weeks ago. The Magic entered Friday’s game ranked 25th in the NBA in turnovers.
- Howard registered his 40th double-double in 49 games by grabbing 13 rebounds to go with his 16 points. He made seven of eight shots, with five of those field goals coming on dunks.
Raved Cleveland rookie Tristan Thompson: ``He is a walking 20 (point) and 10 (rebound) guy. We had our hands full with him. We tried to limit his touches. Being able to play against him for the first time is definitely something I am going to take notes on, look at the film and see what I did good and what I need to work on. The next time I play him I want to make it more difficult for him.’’
- The Magic broke the game open late in the second quarter with a burst of eight points in the final minute of the first half. Richardson had a jumper and two fastbreak layups during the surge, while Nelson had a nifty up-and-under jumper as the first half horn sounded.
- Van Gundy bolted from his postgame news conference quicker than usual because he was meeting with former Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox and current Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez. Van Gundy is longtime friends with Gonzalez from their time in Miami with the Heat and Marlins respectively.
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
Follow John Denton on Twitter here