Recap: Sacramento Kings 111, Orlando Magic 105 | Magic Basketball

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Feb 23

Recap: Sacramento Kings 111, Orlando Magic 105

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

BOX SCORE

Kicking off life after the All-Star break, the Sacramento Kings were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 111-105. Despite not having Tyreke Evans due to an injury and newly-acquired Marcus Thornton still in the process of making his debut with the Kings after being dealt for Carl Landry, while playing a road game on a back-to-back, the visitors won. A team with a record of 14-40 entering the night and, on paper, having no business winning a game against — supposedly — one of the better teams in the NBA, well, did just that. Win. Right now, the Magic should be embarrassed because even though anything can happen on a given night in the league, these are the games they’re supposed to come away victorious. It’s as simple as that, yet Orlando is incapable of doing the right things to win games and make chase to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference for the No. 3 seed. If the Magic’s victory against the Los Angeles Lakers was the best of the season, this loss is the worst. Sacramento was led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. But the two players that sparked the win for the Kings were Beno Udrih and Jermaine Taylor (former University of Central Florida star). Urdih played superbly, finishing with 18 points, 10 assists, and three steals. Taylor played well in front of his hometown, chipping in with 21 points and five rebounds. As for Orlando, Dwight Howard did his job and finished with 31 points, 17 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Even though players like Hedo Turkoglu played well statistically (19 points on 7-of-10 shooting with eight assists and two steals), Howard was the only player for the Magic that gave a crap on both ends of the floor.

Make no mistake. The Kings deserved the victory, playing with excellent energy and effort throughout the evening. Sure, Sacramento gave up a lot of buckets but even when they were down by as many 12 points in the third quarter, they never gave up and chipped away at the lead when Orlando put their guard down momentarily, thinking the game was over. It’s cliche, but the Kings wanted it more and the Magic were happy to give them what they wanted.

Orlando’s defense? Non-existent.

In the early stages of the game, Taylor was able to get off to a quick start for Sacramento, as Jason Richardson routinely lost track of him defensively. Taylor kicked things off with a spectacular dunk off a beautiful pass from DeMarcus Cousins at the high post — a classic Princeton offense set. A few minutes later, Taylor was able to get a layup and that’s when head coach Stan Van Gundy called a timeout, having to berate some of his players.

The sad part is that Van Gundy had to do the same thing after halftime, despite the fact that the Magic coaching staff emphasized in the locker room that they were giving up too easy looks at the basket, especially on back-door cuts for layups or dunks. Yet as the third quarter got underway, the Kings — on three straight possessions — were able to get in the paint with relative ease. Another Van Gundy timeout. Except this time, Howard didn’t mince words with his teammates.

It seemed as if order slowly was being restored, as Orlando was able to build a 12-point lead later in the period. But the Magic didn’t finish the job. Sacramento hung around and was able to put together an excellent fourth quarter.

And that was that.

Orlando has a lot of problems but the main thing that stands out is that there’s little-to-no desire defensively. Howard is the anchor and he’s going to do everything in his power to make sure that the Magic’s defense is running on a string but when players like Jameer Nelson are routinely getting burned on the perimeter, it’s tough to erase those mistakes consistently. When general manager Otis Smith made the decision to make those two blockbuster trades, it was clear that Orlando was going to suffer defensively. However, this is ridiculous.

Even though it’s not fair to assume anything until the Magic reach the playoffs, if they keep playing like this, they’ll be lucky to escape the first round.

If there’s an explanation needed for Orlando’s precipitous slide during the regular season, even after the deals were consummated, it’s this.

Nelson has regressed.

The collective impacts of Turkoglu, Richardson, and Arenas have been minimal.

Although Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson have been able to emerge with the departure of Rashard Lewis as they’ve gotten consistent playing time, there have been too many negative factors that have undermined their contributions.

As for Howard, the Magic are wasting away the best basketball that’s being played in his career.

12 comments
Yoni
Yoni

I was at this game and it was pretty... disgusting. I will say though that Eddy and Stan and everyone kept saying Dwight was the only one who gave it his all, but it looked to me like JJ Redick and Ryan Anderson were playing with heart and hustle (despite the ball not going in for Ryan).

The problem is that team defense is only as good as the weakest link, and when you have Richardson and Turkoglu out there playing defense with their hands in their pockets, there is no way we can win.

This was a game against the second-worst team in the NBA missing their best and third best player on a back-to-back where they outhustled us in our own house. Excuse me while I go throw up.

Magic Fan in NYC
Magic Fan in NYC

True, but look at the teams that did it with only one true star. Only the best can do it. Will dwight be that good in the postseason? I hope so. But i hope even more that the players that can be those second stars (Nelson, Richardson, Arenas) actually pick their game up to do so.

Magic Fan in NYC
Magic Fan in NYC

I wouldn't throw up the white flag just yet. Remember back to 09 when we were everyone's underdog. It's going to be just like that. Dwight's right, this team does have talent, a LOT of it, but there are a lot of variables up in the air right now. I think that come playoff time, this team has a very good chance of making a title run, but there are moments that will hopefully motivate and challenge everyone to become better. It's frustrating watching games knowing that anyone can go off at any given moment, but lets keep in mind that this team didn't have a month in the off-season to jell and they're still figuring out how to utilize everyone's talents in a cohesive manner.
Leaving Arenas in for a significant time in the 4th despite his multiple turnovers and poor defense that let the Kings get back in the game was a risk Van Gundy make in order to try and get him back. I still trust Smith and his judgment; he has made the Magic a better team in most of his decisions thus far. I think the magic can turn it on and knock off any team in the playoffs, lets just hope they figure out how to do that in the regular season instead of after going 0-3 in series before trying to pull the upset.

Amaleika
Amaleika

Hello,
if not a wonder come up in the playoffs ... we are out in the first or secound round.
the new nba have 2-3 all star caliber player in his rooster... look
la kobe gasol, spurs ginobli duncan, celtics allen garnet pierce rondo, heat lebron wade bosh, bulls boozer and rose now the nicks amore melo billups
look at the magic rooster we cant deal with them until every player steps up 20% or more or areanas take the time back... it seems that we are poisened in many years with big contracts arenas and hedo and cant move for another all star caliber player. why does the magic stop in the secound half find howard in the post?
the defense was horrible the whole game and with this defense you cant win.
maybee we are soon in the same situation und have to rebuild the franchise completly.

Jax502
Jax502

I won't blame Howard if he leaves...

I don't blame the trade entirely though, because on paper it looked a promising, but then the players just are not performing as expected. I really thought J-Rich would be a huge factor. NOT! I wasn't expecting Arenas to go off 20-30 points, but geeez, he's now playing below average. Turkoglu, well he's Turkoglu. Heck, the only + that came out of this trade so far was Earl Clark!

AdolfoH
AdolfoH

Now Dwight is really pissed off...and with reason, he's not getting any help at all...!!! Jameer is being ripped by whoever average player he faces, it's ridiculous...!!!, J-Rich is making me miss Vince for god sake...!!! and Gilbert is a lost cause...!!! I'm really worried because Dwight looks very frustrated, Otis needs to do something because we are loosing our big fella...!!! I think now it's time to PANIC...!!!

Yoni Osteen
Yoni Osteen

What teams did it with only one true star? I can think of Hakim with the Rockets, but it's pretty rare, and normally occurs when there aren't a bunch of other teams with multiple superstars. The league has more superstars now than it has had at one time in a long time.

Magic Fan in NYC
Magic Fan in NYC

Also all of this superstar movement hocus pocus is crap. You don't need 3 superstars to win a title. Dwight has an opportunity to cement himself as the best player in the league if he can manage to win a title with a supporting cast of players with semi-star status. Also, I don't get why Orlando wouldn't be an attractive place for someone to join Dwight bc this organization is committed to winning even if it means going well over the cap. I bet Chris Paul would wish he could say the same thing.

Yoni
Yoni

True. The big mistake this offseason was letting Barnes go to LA (and paying Duhon way more than he's worth). We didn't have to pay him much to stay, but instead we made one more sacrifice for Vince Carter.

If Dwight leaves, we're stuck with the overpaid contracts of Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Duhon and nobody that plays Defense.

We could've paid J-Will far less than Duhon and kept that money for an actually wise investment (i.e. Reggie Evans). Hindsight is 20/20 but we need to get our farsight checked.

KDDM
KDDM

Rant time: No one will ever pick up Arenas' contract off us in a trade, so we are stuck with him hogging up contract space. At least Rashard was a functional player and his contract was up one year earlier... Yes we needed to give Bass and Anderson playing time.. but Gilber effectively has us with one hand tied behind our backs (thanks Otis!) and Howard will leave. I will always be a Magic fan but I gave up expecting us to contend for the title this season, and I just enjoy watching D12 in his prime years with us before he quite rightly leaves for greener pastures... If it wasnt for D12 we would be Cavalier level rubbish... No one would want any of our starters...

Osteen Jonathan
Osteen Jonathan

And if we can make Gilbert play off the bench, then why could we not have given Rashard more time on the bench while keeping him on the team one more year? It would take the sort of managerial finesse necessary to coach someone like Gilbert, but we could have increased Ryan and Bass' minutes even without trading away Rashard, whose ego is smaller than Arenas' and who plays defense much better.

Dwight would know that his final year on contract would be Rashard's final year and we'd be able to net Deron Williams or another big player if we didn't take in the overpaid contracts of Gilbert, Duhon and the likes.

Oh, and we have Earl Clark and Q-Rich; Stan should use a shorter leash on bad defense.