Denton: Magic-Bobcats Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
April 6, 2011

A sleepy, relatively meaningless game in Charlotte on Wednesday night awoke the Orlando Magic’s competitive spirits, but it will ultimately prove to be quite costly.

Superstar center Dwight Howard picked up his 18th technical foul of the season which will likely result in him being suspended for Sunday’s game against Chicago, while Quentin Richardson was ejected for a two-handed shove to the face of Bobcats’ guard Gerald Henderson. Richardson, who was ejected midway through the fourth quarter, will also likely be suspended for the Magic’s next game.

The ugly moments marred Orlando’s 111-102 overtime defeat of Charlotte and its 50th victory of the season, a milestone the franchise has hit for four consecutive seasons and a seventh time in franchise history. The Magic (50-29) are locked into the No. 4 seed and likely headed for a first-round playoff showdown against the Atlanta Hawks.

Charlotte point guard D.J. Augustin forced overtime by making a 3-pointer with 16.6 seconds remaining in regulation. But a Magic team playing on the second night of a back-to-back took command in the extra period, making six of seven shots to pull away for the victory.

Gilbert Arenas scored 25 points and drilled six 3-pointers, one of which came to open the overtime period. Jameer Nelson had 18 points and nine assists with five points and two assists coming in the extra frame.

Brandon Bass finished with 19 points and eight rebounds and played flawlessly in the fourth quarter and overtime. Turkoglu added 17 points and seven rebounds, while Howard scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked six shots.

``This is great. I got my 50th win for the first time in my career,’’ said Arenas, who played on mostly bad teams in Golden State and Washington prior to being traded to Orlando on Dec. 18. ``This is a great win for us because we hung in there. There were times when it looked like we were going to give up, but we just kept fighting, kept making shots and hung in there as a team.’’

The Magic improved to 4-0 on the season against the Bobcats and 18-2 in the past four seasons against their Southeast Division rivals. That doesn’t even include last spring’s four-game sweep of the Bobcats in the first round of the playoffs. Charlotte was eliminated from contention for a playoff spot with Wednesday’s loss.

But the bad news is that Howard frustratingly rolled the ball away from the officials after being whistled for a second 10-second violation at the free throw line in as many nights. The 18th technical foul will result in a second one-game suspension for the Magic’s superstar center on Sunday and it could hamper his hopes to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.

``He got upset on a call. I have no idea of if anybody knows if he was upset at himself or upset at the referee,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``When (the referee) was first blowing the whistle I thought he was calling a delay of game, but he called the technical on Dwight. We’ll have to see what the league says about it. If he’s suspended, then he doesn’t play on Sunday.’’

Here is a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from Orlando’s fourth and final game against Charlotte for the season: