Savage & Cohen: Magic-Bucks Postgame Analysis
By Dan Savage
January 5, 2011
The Orlando Magic have undergone a complete makeover since their last meeting with the Milwaukee Bucks.
They completed two blockbuster trades, had players recover from both injury and illness and have reclaimed their position among the East’s elite.
But the biggest difference from the last time the Magic matched up with the Bucks is that in this head-to-head battle superstar center Dwight Howard was on the court.
And on Wednesday night, he made all the difference.
Orlando’s Superman exploded for 28 points and 13 rebounds to lift the Magic to a 97-87 home triumph over the Bucks.
After throttling Orlando for 31 points and 18 rebounds earlier this season – then playing against former Magic backup center Marcin Gortat – Andrew Bogut had a miserable showing versus Howard, posting just six points and seven rebounds, while fouling out early in the fourth quarter.
“I would say Andrew Bogut would attest that Dwight Howard is a pretty good player,” Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Dwight was dominant and that’s what we needed him to be tonight.”
While Howard was superb, the rest of Orlando’s offense was balanced.
After Monday’s contest where eight players scored in double figures, the Magic had six players cross into double digits against Milwaukee.
Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson came through in the clutch, combining to fire off 18 of their 26 points in the second half.
But despite a balanced offensive effort and staunch defensive stand down the stretch, Van Gundy and his squad were disappointed with a mid-game malaise that allowed the Bucks to remain in the hunt.
“We haven’t had the pace these last couple of games that we did in our first couple of games,” the Magic’s head coach explained. “I haven’t liked (us) playing half a game these last two games, I haven’t liked it.”
For a team that has championship aspirations, Orlando is well aware that it has to correct a number of energy-related habits prior to playoff time.
“We have to play every night in order for us to be that championship team that we talk about,” Howard added. “It’s the consistency that coach is looking for.”
With Houston on the horizon for a Friday date at Amway Center, the Magic won’t have much time to focus on improving their effort. But before we move on to that affair, OrlandoMagic.com’s immensely insightful Josh Cohen takes us through what went right, what went wrong and final observations from Wednesday’s win.
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