Savage from the Sideline: Turnovers Must Turnaround

By Dan Savage
January 29, 2012


In the world of basketball analytics, there are tons of formulas to figure out the important factors for winning and losing in the NBA.

But one of the key variables, regardless of the equation, is the turnover battle. Simply put, if you want to win, you can’t turn the ball over and give your opponent extra opportunities.

During the Magic’s recent funk, they’ve struggled to consistently take care of the basketball. And as result, their performance has suffered.

Nothing tells this tale better than Orlando’s first half against Indiana on Sunday. By the 7:25 mark in the second quarter, the Magic had already committed a dismal 14 turnovers, creating a daunting 15-point deficit.

Every member of Orlando’s starting lineup had handed the ball away at least once, led by point guard Chris Duhon’s four turnovers and center Dwight Howard’s three giveaways.

“We simply shot ourselves in the foot,” Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said.

But somehow Orlando managed to turn things around before halftime.

The Magic increased their energy level and were still able to execute their offense with immense precision, not giving away another possession over the final 7:25 of the second quarter. The tide had turned and Orlando rolled into the break with a 51-48 advantage.

However, the success was short-lived. In the second half, the Magic turned the ball over five more times and gave the Pacers six extra opportunities courtesy of the offensive glass in a 106-85 home loss.

“The three biggest things that we’ve always said in winning games is defend: no; rebound: no; take care of the ball: no,” Van Gundy explained. “Those are the three biggest things. You do those three things you’ll have a chance to win every night. We did none of them and got a 20-point loss.”

Unfortunately, it’s recently become a reoccurring problem. Avery Bradley helped pester the Magic into 25 turnovers in a blowout loss in Boston and Hedo Turkoglu and Howard combined for 10 of Orlando’s 23 giveaways in a tough defeat in New Orleans.

“We’re in a real tough stretch and we’re playing very poorly,” Van Gundy said. “Guys know it and we’ve got to fight through it.”

They just have to make sure they take care of the rock in the process.

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