Savage from the Sideline: Celebrating A New Year & A New Relationship

By Dan Savage
January 1, 2012

Regardless of where you’re from, the ingredients for tipping off the New Year in an amazing fashion are always the same.

First, you need a sensational place to celebrate. Second, you need exciting action. And last, but certainly not least, you need someone to celebrate the occasion with.

The Orlando Magic have this formula down to perfection.

They brought in the New Year at the state-of-the-art Amway Center with a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. And along with a sell-out crowd to celebrate the start of 2012, the Magic were also joyous about the forming of a new relationship that resembles a successful partnership from the past.

Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson are creating a bond that is helping this Magic squad look like the team that took a trip to the 2009 NBA Finals.

Back then Orlando had an aggressive Hedo Turkoglu, who operating through pick-and-rolls with Dwight Howard, would create plays for stretch-four Rashard Lewis, Howard and himself.

Now at the start of 2012, Turk is finding success with Ryan Anderson, a power forward with a similar skill-set to Lewis. And thanks in large part to Turkoglu, Anderson is having a breakout season.

He’s currently leading the team in scoring, averaging 20.4 points per game, while also knocking down 46.7 percent of his shots from long distance.

“Hedo Turkoglu has done an amazing job of finding me and getting me open,” Anderson said. “He’s looking great right now.”

In fact, he’s looking a lot like the player who was known around these parts as Mr. Fourth Quarter.

“It makes my job easier,” Turkoglu said of having a player like Anderson along side of him. “It helps my game a lot to have that kind of guy that can spread the floor. All I have to do is play pick-and-roll with Dwight and see what’s out there.”

But what is it about Turkoglu that makes him so effective in a pick-and-roll situation with Howard rolling to the basket and Anderson waiting on the outside? J.J. Redick explains.

“Because Turk is such a good passer, it really creates a difficult situation where the four man has to make a decision; does he take Dwight on the roll or does he close to Ryan? And that’s where Ryan is getting a lot of his shots,” the Magic guard said. “Turk is making some great passes, and even late Dwight was open on the roll a couple of times and got layups.”

If Turkoglu continues to play in an aggressive fashion, Anderson keeps up his scorching pace and D12 gets more open opportunities, 2012 may start to look a lot like 2009.

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