Denton: Magic-Hornets Postgame Analysis
By John Denton
January 12, 2011
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Trailing by three points with 15 seconds to play, the Magic spread the floor and drew up a play to get a wide-open shot. Turkoglu entered the ball to Howard, who got it back to Howard. When Turkoglu was stopped and passed to Howard, the Magic big man drive the lane.
He found Redick in the corner, who kicked the ball to Turkoglu for the game-tying shot.
``I make plays like that all of the time in practice,’’ Howard joked. ``When I drove, the defense collapsed and I knew I wouldn’t get a foul (call). So I threw it to J.J. and he got it to Turk for the open shot.’’
Nelson registered five assists in the third quarter alone. Four of the assists resulted in Magic 3-point shots – three for Ryan Anderson and another for Jason Richardson. Nelson’s fifth assist of the third quarter was a thing of beauty – he beat Paul off the dribble, drew Emeka Okafor up and then flipped the ball up to Howard for an alley-oop dunk.
``It was like we were running in the mud out there,’’ said Nelson, who finished with 10 assists. ``The pace wasn’t good all night, but we tried to pick it up in the second half.’’
Howard took just about everything to the rim, getting three thunderous dunks, a tough put-back layup in traffic and a nifty reserve spinning hook shot with his left hand.
Howard made six of 10 shots in the first quarter for 13 points that helped the Magic jump to a 21-17 lead. But Howard got just one shot attempt in the second period because of double-teaming, something that allowed New Orleans to re-take the lead.
``That’s the way we’ve got to play – inside-out and getting everybody running and pushing the ball,’’ Howard said. ``And when I’m able to get deep post position, I’m going to finish around the rim like that.’’
WHAT WENT WRONG
Redick entered the game having made seven of his previous 17 3-point shots and averaging 10.6 points in the previous five games. He did hit a big 3-pointer with 5:50 to play and he later took a charge against Trevor Ariza to keep the Magic close. However, Redick did not get a favorable call down the stretch when he leaned in on a shot, but didn’t draw as much contact as he hoped for.
Redick regretted hurrying his final 3-point try in overtime. He actually had more time than he thought because Marcus Thornton got caught up on a screen.
``It was a good look, but I couldn’t really get my feet set and I rushed it a little bit,’’ Redick said. ``I was (surprised to be so open) because Thornton was a good 4 to 5 feet back off. I had more time than I realized, but I just rushed it.’’
BULLET Howard had a chance to win the game for the Magic, but his woes at the free throw line cost the Magic. With Orlando down 90-89 with 11.6 seconds to play, Howard missed two free throws. The first attempt was short and the second bounced around the rim twice before falling out.
Said Howard: ``I just missed them so there’s no need to be mad at myself. It happens. We can’t just look at it as free throws lost the game. There were a lot of plays down the stretch that we didn’t make and we didn’t play as hard as we’re supposed to play. Me missing free throws wasn’t the only reason we lost because there were a lot of mistakes made.’’
The arms of Howard and Emeka Okafor were tangled up as the two fought for a rebound, and to get out of the hold Howard swung his arm back at Okafor.
Veteran referee Steve Javie saw the play as he ran up the floor and whistled Howard for a technical foul. Paul’s free throw with 2:20 to play put the Hornets up 77-72.
``I was surprised. I didn’t say a word and the guy was holding me and I thought you had the right to get them off of you and not just let them hold you,’’ Howard said. ``I hope the NBA will look at it. We lost a possession and they got a free throw. (Javie) said I took a swing backwards, but anybody who has played basketball knows if someone is holding you and you try to run that that’s the only way to get them off. If I wouldn’t have done anything he would have just kept on holding me. If it happened again, I’d do the same thing.’’
The technical foul is the 12th of the season for Howard. Players are suspended a game by the NBA league office upon receiving their 16th technical foul of the season. Howard has gotten 15 technical fouls each of the past two seasons, but has yet to be suspended because of exceeding the technical foul threshold.
Howard has already had two technical fouls rescinded by the NBA’s league office this season, and this could very well be the third one.
Late in the second period, Nelson jumped to throw a pass back on a pick-and-pop play only to have Ariza dart into the passing late for the steal. Near the end of the third period, Gilbert Arenas hurriedly dribbled up the court to beat the clock, but his behind-the-back dribble was stripped by New Orleans’ small forward.
The Magic missed their first five shots, forcing Van Gundy to call a timeout to try and slow down a 6-0 New Orleans start to the game. Orlando made matters worse by having huge difficulties stopping the pick-and-roll, allowing New Orleans to get points out of its first six possessions.
But once the Magic figured out the pick-and-roll, they quickly shook out of the slow start and zipped into the lead.
And they paid for that ill-advised decision when Turkoglu buried a game-tying 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds to play.
However, referee Steve Javie ruled that Turkoglu’s pass entered the basket cylinder and therefore was goaltending. However, replays showed the back of Howard’s hand hitting the rim and stopping the ball before it entered the cylinder.