Thursday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball



Jan 13

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard saw warning signs as the Orlando Magic won game after game after game these last few weeks. The team would take a quarter off here or a half there and escape with victories, but the coach and the superstar center predicted that the pattern would hurt the Magic eventually. On Wednesday night, the periods of low energy and poor focus, along with some key miscues, finally cost the Magic a game. It also prevented them from setting a new franchise record. Still, the Magic didn’t allow their nine-game winning streak end without a fight. Trailing by seven points with a minute remaining in regulation, the Magic stormed back against the New Orleans Hornets to force overtime but lost 92-89 at New Orleans Arena.”
  • There’s no sense of urgency from the Orlando Magic.
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post with words of wisdom after the Magic’s loss last night: “I anticipate we’ll all hear a lot tomorrow morning about how Howard’s missed free throws indicate some sort of fatal character flaw, or why the Magic will never win a championship, or some other such nonsense. Magic players apart from Howard missed 50 field goals. Points scored in the fourth quarter, or overtime, count just the same as points scored in the first two minutes of a game; there’s no bonus on the scoreboard for hitting “clutch” baskets. Don’t pin this loss squarely on him, is all I’m saying. Win as a team, lose as a team.”
  • John Hollinger of “The technical was Howard’s league-leading 12th of the season — which doesn’t include the three that have been rescinded — and like many of the techs handed out to Howard this year, it was a borderline call. After a missed shot ended with his arm tucked under Emeka Okafor’s, Howard began to run upcourt and swung his arm to shake free of Okafor. It was a relatively innocuous play, but he was slapped with a tech by referee Steve Javie … who was standing roughly 50 feet away at the time, while two officials much closer to the action declined to call anything.”
  • According to Hollinger, Brandon Bass is going to play a large part in determining Dwight Howard’s future with Orlando: “Because if Dwight Howard ends up staying in Orlando, Bass will have played a major role. Everyone points to the new players the Magic acquired in their blockbuster December trade as the reason for their recent surge — one that remains impressive despite Wednesday night’s overtime defeat — but I remain steadfast in my belief that the biggest difference has been simply clearing a spot for Bass to play by trading Rashard Lewis. […] So either Bass shines in this role, plays a big supporting part in leading Howard to the promised land, and all is well and good in Orlando, or the Magic lose in the second round to Boston and Howard starts searching around for ways to team up the likes of CP or Williams in some alternate destination.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk explains why the Magic lost against the New Orleans Hornets.
  • Toney Blare of SLAM ONLINE has game notes from yesterday’s matchup in the Big Easy.
  • Howard is proud of playing a role in setting up Hedo Turkoglu‘s game-tying three point shot: “Not sure if you guys saw it or not, but I did my best John Stockton on that last play in regulation. I took it and drove to the rim, making the defense collapse. When I knew that I´d never get a foul call and a chance at a three-point play, I kicked the ball out to J.J.Redick. He got it to Turk for a three that tied up the score. Maybe I should get the hockey assist – you know, the pass that leads to the pass that gets us the basket. Hey, I´ll take it any way I can get it.”
  • A look at the consistency of Howard’s scoring ability.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie: “Orlando hung in there because Jason Richardson can just get hot beyond belief at times, and Dwight Howard came through with a nasty 29-point, 20-rebound, two-block effort. But I watched a good chunk of this game both during and after, and Orlando earned that 3-7 mark from the free throw line. They just weren’t encouraging contact, and it’s hard to win against any team making just three free throws in 53 minutes of play. Yikes.”