Savage & Cohen: Magic-Bucks Postgame Analysis

By Josh Cohen
January 5, 2011

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Obviously disappointed he didn’t have the opportunity to play the last time the Magic and Bucks tangled on Dec. 4, Dwight Howard wanted to prove a point to his counterpart, Andrew Bogut, that when he is protecting the paint there is no way he can rack up the kind of statistics he did that night.

In early December, Bogut erupted for season highs of 31 points and 18 rebounds. On Wednesday, on the other hand, the Australian center was limited to just six points on 2-of-5 shooting from the field and 2-of-10 from the free throw line.

Howard, in contrast, powered home 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as Orlando earned some revenge on that stomach-virus-plagued night at the Bradley Center.

“Andrew Bogut would probably attest that Dwight Howard is a pretty good player,” Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said.

A frequent role for Hedo Turkoglu during his first stint with the Magic was to be the hero and hit late-game critical shots. While it may not be as imperative for the Turkish superstar to be Orlando’s primary fourth-quarter scorer because of the plethora of talent on the current roster, he still can deliver if asked to.

With Milwaukee climbing back in the fourth, Turk buried two pivotal shots late, including a 3-pointer that halted the Bucks’ momentum with 3:11 left and 16-foot jumper on the subsequent possession.

Accustomed to being a scoring point guard with his ability to finish at the rim and bury outside jumpers, Jameer Nelson realized that if he wanted to be among the upper echelon at his position, he would need to become a more efficient distributor.

As demonstrated on Wednesday when he dished out nine assists, Nelson has clearly developed the very critical ability of finding his teammates for open shots.


Josh Cohen
WHAT WENT WRONG

Based on the last several performances, it had seemed Orlando’s 3-point shooting woes were a thing of the past.

But on Wednesday, the Magic struggled mightily from beyond the arc—shooting just 5-of-22 from long distance.

Credit the Bucks defense – which is a staple of Scott Skiles’ formula for success – or just conclude it was an atypical shooting night for the men in blue and white.

It remains a mystery if Gilbert Arenas – once one of the game’s most prolific scorers and attackers – can restore his offensive arsenal.

Since knee problems put his career on hiatus over the last few seasons, Arenas has not had the opportunity to showcase his potential.

While it may not be essential for the Tampa native to reinstate that offensive firepower with the surplus of scorers on the Magic’s roster, come playoff time Arenas may be relied on to score in the clutch.

On Wednesday, Gilbert contributed just six points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field.

FINAL OBSERVATIONS

Seven straight wins is seven straight wins – it’s impressive, hard to do and should be respected.

No, the Magic did not play first-rate basketball on Wednesday and no, they didn’t necessarily prove anything on what most observers will label as an ordinary night.

But they did win, and they won despite struggling shooting the ball. We all know Orlando is now a tremendous offensive team with an array of options since the two trades.

The Magic will be seeing some very good competition in the coming week – home against Houston, at Dallas, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Boston – so we may learn much more about this team when that stretch is complete.

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