Second Look: Orlando Magic 98, Charlotte Bobcats 89 | Magic Basketball

«

»

Apr 19

Second Look: Orlando Magic 98, Charlotte Bobcats 89

Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic just didn’t go off script to win, they had to make it up as they went along. [...] No. 2-seeded Orlando raced to a 22-point lead in the third quarter, looking every bit like the club that posted the NBA’s second-best record. But the No. 7-seeded Bobcats made runs as the Magic were forced to work around [Dwight] Howard‘s foul trouble in the second half. They made some big plays defensively and clutch shots in the final period, as is their trademark. The Magic held the Bobcats to 29.7 percent shooing in the second half. The game lived up to its billing as a grind-it-out affair between two of the league’s stingier defenses, and Howard was monstrous. Howard finished with more blocks (9) and rebounds (7) than points (5) in almost 28 minutes.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “There was one sequence of plays in the first half where [Jameer] Nelson had the Bobcats looking at each other and probably mumbling to themselves, “What – did the Magic sign Chris Paul for the playoffs?” Nelson jab-stepped, got the defender on his heels, pulled back and drained a trey. He then blew by a defender and drove in for a layup. Then he led a fastbreak and kicked it out to Rashard Lewis for another trey. By the time the first half had ended with Nelson hitting a buzzer-beating 35-footer, he’d scored 24 points and doubled his scoring average for the season.”
  • Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “Early in Sunday night’s game, Vince Carter had to walk to the free-throw line, stand before Dwight Howard and try to talk him into relaxing. Theo Ratliff fouled Howard, something he’s used to, and as he approached the free-throw line, he got an earful from Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson. Howard jawed right back at Jackson in what looked like the beginning of that frustration he sometimes lets swirl around inside his head. Eventually he did get rattled, and paid for that with five fouls during the Magic’s 98-89 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. But that early in the game, frustration wasn’t a problem, Howard said. It was just that he was a little too excited.”
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Don’t look at the statistics. They’re deceptive. Howard only scored five points on four shots. He grabbed seven rebounds. Instead, listen to Brown. “He got five points, but he was the most valuable player,” Brown said after Orlando beat Brown’s Bobcats, 98-89, in their NBA first round playoff matchup Sunday night at Amway Arena. The discombobulating of Brown’s plans came in other ways. With so much focus on Howard, other things opened up for the Magic. Jameer Nelson was fabulous, scoring a game-high 32 points. Rashard Lewis had 19. J.J. Redick and Mickael Pietrus hit big shots in the finals minutes. A lot of this had to do with the dirty-work on Howard.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “For much of the 2009-10 regular season, Mickael Pietrus would disappear for one game and reappear the next. Like Forrest Gump with his box of chocolates, the Orlando Magic never knew what they were going to get. But maybe Pietrus was saving his best stuff for the playoffs.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Fully healthy in a playoff game for the first time in two seasons, Nelson was off the charts in the first half with his aggressiveness. He was in attack mode from the jump, making six of eight shots in the first quarter and 10 of 12 in the first half. He also made four of his first six 3-pointers, including a long buzzer-beater just before the half, giving him 24 points by the break. With Charlotte possessing no true shot blocker, Nelson was able to turn the corner on the pick-and-rolls and get all the way to the rim. In the first half alone, Nelson had three layups and two other runners in the lane. And when Raymond Felton went under screens to cut off the drive, Nelson made him pay by stroking one 3-pointer after another.”
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer: “Game 1 of this playoff series established several things, but none more than this: The Charlotte Bobcats have no business in a 3-point shooting contest with the Orlando Magic. You know how Bobcats coach Larry Brown says he “hates” the 3-point shot? He must detest it even more after this one. The Magic outscored his team 39-9 off 3s, which was just enough to preserve a 98-89 victory in this best-of-7 opener.”
  • Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer: “As they began the first playoff game in franchise history, the Charlotte Bobcats looked freshly scrubbed and very nervous. They looked like they should be carrying brand-new backpacks. “We were like little kids on the first day of school,” Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace said. Exactly. The Bobcats were enthusiastic, energetic… and not quite ready for everything that was about to happen.”
  • Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse: “Point guard Jameer Nelson wasn’t part of the Magic’s playoff run to the 2009 NBA Finals — and even got blamed for the Finals loss when he finally returned at less than full-speed — missing most of the fun after mid-season shoulder surgery. This was about making up for lost time. Nelson, the smallest man on the floor, set the tone quickly Sunday in the Magic’s 98-89 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. It was the Little Big Man Show. The Magic rode him early, then hung on through a rocky second half, turning to him time and again down the stretch. With Dwight Howard struggling to stay in the game, and Vince Carter struggling to shoot straight, Nelson delivered the kind of performance that showed why they gave him the title of captain.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Tonight’s crowd at Amway Arena was one of the best I’ve seen. No doubt that it was a legitimate sellout, and I estimate at least 95% of the paying customers were in their seats prior to tipoff. Charlotte’s Theo Ratliff won the tip, and very few seconds elapsed before fans broke into a spontaneous, unprompted chant of “DE-FENSE!” Genuine engagement and enthusiasm from the crowd tonight, and the Magic’s hot start only fanned the flames.”
  • Henry Abbott of TrueHoop: “Some very smart people are picking the Orlando Magic to win this year’s NBA title. Stan Van Gundy‘s team has a great offense and a better defense, and they don’t just beat up on weaklings — they also happen to match up well with all of the NBA’s top teams. Yet, in the first game of their campaign to return to the Finals, the Magic could have easily lost to the 44-win Charlotte Bobcats, who wouldn’t have even made the playoffs in the Western Conference. Hypotheticals matter not at all, and are best avoided. But they’re irresistable in analyzing crunch time of this particular game. With 33.1 seconds left, the Magic led by five. From that point, the Bobcats were forced to foul repeatedly. Thanks to impeccable Orlando free throw shooting, they coasted to a nine-point win.”
  • Ric Bucher of ESPN.com: “If All-Star center Dwight Howard has to be on the floor for the Magic to win an NBA title, the Charlotte Bobcats provided the blueprint for keeping him off it. Actually, the blueprint has been utilized before. The Bobcats simply proved it still works by limiting Orlando’s leading scorer to five points and seven rebounds in 28 foul-plagued minutes. It might’ve been less, but when the Bobcats closed to within six with 5:19 left, coach Stan Van Gundy put Howard back on the floor with five fouls. He survived to the end, as did the Magic, 98-89, thanks to 32 points from Jameer Nelson. But, in spite of all the happy chatter about Howard’s nine blocked shots, it had to be troubling to see their anchor reduced to role-player status. For while the ‘Cats might not have enough bricks and mortar to actually build a series upset from the blueprint, there’s a good chance some other team in the East does.”
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus: “Two different games: All Orlando Magic in the first half, and a scrappy Charlotte Bobcats comeback in the second half. The biggest difference was Dwight Howard’s foul trouble. You’ll remember from last spring that one of the keys to the Magic’s run to the NBA Finals was Marcin Gortat‘s ability to step in and maintain if not elevate the team’s level of play when Howard was sidelined by fouls. Not so in this game.”
  • Matt Moore of ProBasketballTalk: “There’s a lot to talk about regarding Magic-Bobcats Game 1. The Magic’s initial dominance. The brilliance of Jameer Nelson. The failboat of Raymond Felton taking a lap around the lake. The grit, the nail-chewing, back-breaking, unrelenting grit of the Bobcats in making a significant run in the second half to pull within five under two minutes. And in the end, the Magic held on for a 98-89 win in Orlando behind the same thing that got them to the Finals last year.  The three ball. The Magic shot 43% from the arc (13-30), and that was pretty much your ballgame.”
  • John Krolik of ProBasketballTalk: “Howard was on the floor for 28 minutes of Sunday’s game. He was on the bench for the other 20 minutes of it. When Howard was off the floor, the Bobcats played the Magic dead even. When he played, the Magic were +9 over the Bobcats. Howard completely dominated the game while scoring five points. One of the most amazing defensive performances I’ve ever seen.”
7 comments
Jamey D.
Jamey D.

I totally agree.. with VCarter and D12 playing poorly we still come away with the W wooow. BtW I think they were texting eachother about showing how deep our bench is, cause thats what happened.. I honestly never like Redick b4 this season, but dude is LEGIT and Pietrus is a born playoff player people!!! Rashard and Matt played BEAST 2.. :)

Magic 2010 champs!!! just watch!!!

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Adolfo

Howard performed phenomenally on defense, he just couldn't stay on the floor long enough to make more of an impact on offense. Have to give credit to the Bobcats for executing a strategy and taking Howard out of the game for stretches at a time.

Adolfo
Adolfo

D12 made what, 9 blocks? If we consider those blocks as 18 potential points I think he had a terrific game, am I OK? I think that the team has mentally-matured a lot even when they let go the 22 points advantage they never let the cats to tie the game... the bench players were very good...!!!

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Fdaddy66

I think the Magic have learned to play with each other. It was just an off-day for a few players, yet Orlando was able to win regardless. That speaks more to the dearth of talent the Magic have at their disposal than anything else.

@jax502

I'm sure Howard will bounce back in Game 2. He's too good of a player.

@BandrewG

You nailed it. The series is, ultimately, going to come down to the Bobcats' ability to score against the Magic's defense. The fact that Carter and Howard were almost completely non-existent on offense, yet Orlando was able to win by nine doesn't bode well for Charlotte. Granted, Nelson isn't going to score 32 points again -- he may, but I doubt it -- so that needs to be taken into account but the Magic can certainly play better on offense than they did in Game 1.

As for the banner, yeah, I plan on putting up a different one for each round of the playoffs and major events.

BandrewG
BandrewG

I had no idea Larry Brown "hates" the 3-point shot. That simply does not sound like it bodes well for them in this series (outscored 39-9 on threes!).

The series will come down to how effective Charlotte is on offense. We have seen their blueprint for how they plan to (literally) attack our D. Will that be enough to outscore the Magic on even just an average day from the perimeter? If the shots are falling like they were last night, it's a wrap.

I'm liking the new playoff banner, by the way. Are you planning on putting up a different one for each round or event (the draft, All-Star Game, free agency, training camp, etc.)?

jax502
jax502

Let's hope D12 will have better control of his emotions in Game 2. Somehow I kinda miss the goofy, happy and all-smiles Howard. The Cats did a good job of frustrating him last night...Game ball goes to Jameer!

Fdaddy66
Fdaddy66

To be honest, the 2nd half was a bit concerning, but when you think about how poorly VC and D12 played offensively, and how poorly Gortat played when he was in, well then you realize that there is a lot of room for improvement. Remember this team is still learning to play with each other... Rashard was out 10 games, Meer got hurt, VC had little injuries, Barnes missed a game or two, Pietrus missed a chunk of games. We are finally healthy. I'll take a 9-point win in Game 1 considering the facts.