Denton's Notebook: May 2, 2012

By John Denton
May 2, 2012

ORLANDO – Because the Orlando Magic are undermanned playing without Dwight Howard and their bench has been shortened in the playoffs, head coach Stan Van Gundy has done everything possible to save the energy for the Magic’s primary players.

Whereas the Pacers practiced on Tuesday before flying to Orlando, the Magic had the day off to rest up for Wednesday’s game. Van Gundy said the shorthanded Magic are having to expend so much energy in games and extend the minutes of players that it’s important to save energy for game nights rather than waste it in practice sessions.

``Over this last part of the year, particularly with our big guys being undersized and having to fight so hard, it’s difficult. Indiana gets 15-to-20 possessions where they are dropping it in the post or isolating David West, but we don’t have any of those possessions and we have to play with energy all the time,’’ Van Gundy said. ``It does present a challenge trying to sustain that over 48 minutes.

``We’ve said it to our guys every since Dwight went out, we don’t have those 15 possessions of being able to drop the ball into the post. So the energy level has to be higher,’’ Van Gundy continued. ``And with our depth down, it’s not easy. It’s one of the reasons we haven’t spent a lot of time on the practice floor because we’re trying to preserve their energy.’’

ANDERSON EFFECT: Only two power forwards have ever led the NBA in 3-point shooting in a season, and both have ties to the Magic. Ryan Anderson hit a NBA-most 166 3-pointers this season, while converted power forward Rashard Lewis led the league in threes in 2009 as a member of the Magic.

Anderson’s success during the regular season has heightened Indiana’s awareness of him in the playoffs and they worked hard to take away his 3-point shooting in the first two games of the first-round series. Anderson’s effect is almost diminished by the loss of Howard, who would regularly suck the defense inside and open up shots for Anderson on the perimeter.

Indiana power forward David West said that while it’s usually a rarity having to guard a power forward all the way out to the 3-point line, playing nine years in the Western Conference prepared him for the challenge of checking Anderson.

``This is my first year in the Eastern Conference, but that’s basically all there is in the Western Conference, so it’s something that you’re used to,’’ West said, referring to Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Channing Frye. ``It’s not really out of the norm in the West. Obviously when they’ve got Dwight Howard, it makes a difference because you have to help; you have to pick your poison. But for the most part, (guarding Anderson closely) is just a part of the game now.’’

HOTTEST GUY IN THE NBA: Before Wednesday’s game Magic players were having fun with reserve shooting guard J.J. Redick being named atop the ``The Hottest Guys in the NBA’’ poll by Cosmopolitan Magazine.

``I might have put him in the top five, but I thought I was a lock to get that award,’’ Anderson joked. ``And (Hedo Turkoglu) was not even listed.’’

Redick was blushing as teammates joked with him about the award. Anderson also joked that the award was wasted on Redick because he is already a married man.

``I won by default,’’ Redick said dryly.

ETC: The back injury suffered by Howard loosened his stranglehold on the Defensive Player of the Year award. New York center Tyson Chandler was announced as the winner of the award on Wednesday, ending Howard’s three-year run on the award. Howard, who received 18 first-place votes compared to 45 for Chandler and 41 for Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka, is the only player in the history of the award to win it three consecutive times. … Redick has marveled at Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis’ ability to dominate inside against the 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert in the first two games of the series. Redick said Davis is the only player who could have used fatigue as an excuse in Game 2. ``Baby is working really hard and a lot is being asked of him on both ends,’’ Redick said. ``We’re asking him to defend inside on defense and run to two or three pick-and-rolls on every offensive possession. I’d say he’s the only one could use fatigue as an excuse.’’ … Game 4 between the Magic and Pacers will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Orlando’s Amway Center.

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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