Denton's Notebook: March 1, 2011

By John Denton
March 1, 2011


ORLANDO – Since he arrived in Orlando on Dec. 18 in a trade between the Magic and Wizards, Gilbert Arenas has said he is content with his role as a reserve point guard. But fresh off a prolonged shooting slump, Arenas spoke Tuesday morning of his frustration of getting limited minutes and shots.

Arenas, who was held out of Tuesday night’s game because of soreness in his surgically repaired left knee, admitted that his recent shooting slump – one in which he missed 35 of 38 3-point tries and 18 straight at one point – wore on him mentally. He broke out of that slump in Sunday’s game, making four of his six attempts from beyond the arc. Arenas said the fact that the stretch of games without a made 3-pointer was seven games showed just how few attempts he gets per night.

Arenas said he became an All-NBA performer in Washington, in part, because he had the freedom to take any shot at any time. That is not the case in Orlando where he has to split time with starter Jameer Nelson and coach Stan Van Gundy’s system features far more structure.

``(In Washington,) that’s why I took the shots that I took and I always believed that they would go in. That’s where my confidence was at the time,’’ Arenas said. ``I’m not getting 15 of 20 shots now. If I miss three now, that might be the last three that I see. If I miss three now it’s not like I have time now to make up those shots and get in rhythm. It’s not like now I can go on a run and make four, miss two and make five. Now, if I miss three that might be the end of it and I have to go into the next game thinking about those that I missed.

``Seeing (the move from starting to coming off the bench) now, that’s the biggest adjustment,’’ he continued. ``It’s not just the missing shots; it’s the going into the next game thinking that I’ve missed three last game. Then, if I missed shots that game it goes to the next game. It has me going into the little circle.’’

Arenas admitted that his recent shooting drought, ``was probably the roughest stretch I’ve had in my basketball career.’’ Tuesday night was the second game that Arenas has missed since joining the Magic.

NEW YORK STATE OF MIND: Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing is considered one the best players in New York history, and admittedly there’s a part of him excited to see the Knicks relevant again after acquiring Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to pair with Amare Stoudemire. He said the Knicks’ potency offensively makes it a threat to do some damage in the playoffs.

``New York has two bona fide stars for the first time since Willis Reed and Clyde (Walt Frazier) and Earl Monroe,’’ Ewing said. ``These guys they have now are bona fide stars. And everybody is talking about Chauncey like he’s a throw-in, but he’s been a great player most of his career.’’

Asked if he was jealous that the Knicks never traded for another superstar to play with him and help him get the championship that eluded him, Ewing said: ``I can’t worry about that now. I’ve been retired for like a hundred years, but I’m happy for them in New York.’’

TURK TIME: With the Magic in a stretch of games against the Knicks, Heat and Bulls, Magic small forward Hedo Turkoglu knows that he’s got his work cut out for him.

On Tuesday, he was scheduled to guard Anthony, but he wasn’t on the floor very long. He picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and then his third foul was extremely costly. After a questionable whistle, Turkoglu argued with referee Curtis Blair and was whistled for a technical foul.

But being pulled from the game didn’t stop Turkoglu’s arguing. Two minutes later, Turkoglu complained from the bench about a non-call on Dwight Howard and he was tossed out of the game by referee Jason Phillips. In just 12 minutes, Turkoglu missed all four of his shots.

Turkoglu’s defensive assignment won’t get any easier on Thursday when he has to guard LeBron James. And a night later in Orlando he’ll be matched up against Chicago’s Luol Deng.

``It’s going to be real tough all week long,’’ Turkoglu said. ``Against guys like that, you’re just trying to make the game harder for them. You’re trying to deny them the ball, keep them away from the basket and keep them off the free throw line. It’s hard to stop a guy like (Anthony) because he takes a lot of shots. I just hope to take him out of his comfort zone.’’

ETC: Howard was asked about his pending free agency after the 2011-12 season by several members of the New York media and the star center stressed that he’s happy in Orlando. He reiterated that his only focus now is trying to lead the Magic to a championship this season. … The Knicks signed Jared Jeffries and Derrick Brown on Tuesday and waived Corey Brewer and Kelenna Azubuike. … Howard and Stoudemire rank first in the NBA in technical fouls with 15 each. Another technical foul will result in the player being suspended for one game by the NBA for eclipsing the threshold of 16. Said Van Gundy: ``It’s not something that I worry about. If I see something happening in a game, I might say something to Dwight. He knows the situation as I’m sure Amare does as well. But it’s not like I’m going to be standing by him during the game when a call is made. I worry about stuff where I might have a little bit more of an impact.’’

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.