Denton's Notebook: April 30, 2012

By John Denton
April 30, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS – During the NBA’s regular season, Orlando Magic power forward Ryan Anderson led the NBA in both 3-poionters made (166) and 3-pointers attempted (422).

But as Anderson found out Saturday in Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers, this is no longer the regular season.

One of the Pacers’ stated goals in these playoffs is to take away Anderson’s shooting from beyond the arc. Not only are they running at him to get him off the 3-point line, but power forwards David West and Tyler Hansbrough are ``hugging’’ Anderson on pick-and-pop plays to take away his 3-pointers.

``One thing you realize right away is there’s a big difference between the regular season and the playoffs,’’ Anderson said. ``Every possession matters. And in the playoffs it can’t be about points or scoring or statistics; it just has to be about winning. … I know in this series I’m not going to get a ton of shots or score a ton of points. But I can play with great energy and rebound the ball.’’

During the regular season, Anderson burned the Pacers for 11 3-pointers in four games. He averaged 14.7 points in those regular-season games while shooting 46.1 percent from the floor and 55 percent from the 3-point line.

In Game 1, Anderson got just seven shots and made only one of four 3-pointers. He contributed in other ways, grabbing six rebounds and pushing Indiana center Roy Hibbert off the low block. Anderson said even if defenders stay up on him at the 3-point line it still serves a tremendous purpose for the Magic.

``It’s an opportunity for me to help get my teammates open if they are going to stay on me,’’ Anderson said. ``The better I screen the more lanes there will be for Jameer (Nelson). And when Glen (Davis) sets the high screen and rolls it gives him a better path to the basket if they aren’t helping off.

BIG GAME EXPERIENCE: Times will undoubtedly get tougher in this best-of-seven series between the Magic and the Pacers, but Orlando’s players and coaches are sure of one thing: They won’t be intimidated by the magnitude of the moment in the playoffs.

Sprinkled throughout the Magic’s locker room are players who have competed in several big games. Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick and Hedo Turkoglu were a part of the Magic team that reached the NBA Finals in 2009. Glen Davis won a NBA championship as a rookie in 2008 and helped the Boston Celtics get to a Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 2010. Jason Richardson has played in a Western Conference Finals and has averaged 18 points in 33 career playoff games, while Quentin Richardson has made 47 3-pointers in 27 career playoff games. Chris Duhon is making his fifth appearance in the playoffs, playing in 23 postseason games, while Anderson was a part of the 2010 Magic team that reached the East Finals.

In all, the Magic’s players have appeared in 402 games. Not counting Dwight Howard’s 57 career playoff games, the Magic have 345 games of collective playoff experience.

``Of course, we’re missing our best player on both ends of the court, but we’re still good players on this team,’’ said Jason Richardson, referring to the Magic’s loss of Howard. ``We don’t have a superstar, but we have a lot of guys who have been in big situations. I’ve played in big games, Q and Duhon have been there. Go down the line and most all of our guys have been there in big games.’’

Added Van Gundy: ``I don’t know what will happen Game 3 and Game 4 and we could get outplayed, but we’re not going to have problems because guys shy from the moment. Everybody that we play except Earl (Clark) has been to the conference finals and have played big roles on those teams. That’s not going to be an issue.’’

ETC: In Van Gundy’s five seasons with the Magic, the franchise has reached the playoffs all five seasons. In fact, Orlando’s streak of six straight playoff berths is the longest in the Eastern Conference. With Van Gundy at the help, the Magic are 5-0 in playoff series when winning Game 1. They are 1-4 in series when losing Game 1. … Earl Clark made a quite an impression on the Magic in his first-ever significant playoff minutes, contributing six points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots in Game 1. Said Van Gundy: ``Earl’s energy was really good. He did a really good job for it being his first playoff game of significance. I’m not sure we can expect much more than that from Earl.’’ … Magic Director of Player Personnel Adonal Foyle said he literally came up out of his seat in Game 1 when the 290-pound Davis demolished Indiana’s George Hill on a layup attempt. Said Foyle, a former NBA center for 13 seasons: ``Oh, I loved that. I knew when I saw that that it was on then.’’ … The best-of-seven playoff series now shifts to Orlando for Game 3 (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.) and Game 4 (Saturday, 2 p.m.). Concerts at the Amway Center on Thursday (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and Friday (Nickelback) are the reason for the break between games.

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

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