Monday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball



Apr 18

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Dwight Howard now has accomplished something Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Hakeem Olajuwon never did. The Orlando Magic center won the 2010-11 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award on Monday and became the first player in league history to receive the honor three years in a row. ‘It’s a great accomplishment,’ Howard said. ‘It’s a blessing. It’s an honor. And I just thank God for this opportunity and just for blessing me with the ability to be able to get stops on the defensive end, block shots, rebound, just do a lot of things and also have this award. Three times in a row is history. I never really thought about it like that until I saw the awards, but I just want to keep it going.’ Howard won this year’s award in a landslide. He earned 114 first-place votes out of 120 ballots cast. Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett finished second. Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler placed third.”
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson was a non-factor in last year’s playoff series against the Orlando Magic, shooting 29.8 percent and scoring just 12.8 points per game in the four-game sweep. And now, one year later, he’s the player who hurt the Magic the most in Game 1 by scoring 25 points on 56.3 percent shooting. It’s not like Johnson has evolved as a player in 12 months – his scoring is actually lower this year. And the Hawks are comprised of mostly the same players, so it’s not like he’s getting better looks or less attention from Orlando. So, what’s the difference? The Magic’s primary defender on Johnson last year was Vince Carter, and this year it’s Jason Richardson. Is Carter’s defense that much better than Richardson’s?”
  • Do the Orlando Magic have anything to worry about after losing Game 1?
  • Dwight Howard achieved a never-before-done feat.
  • Mike Prada of SBNation: “Apparently, it is possible for an NBA team to allow a player to score 46 points and be universally praised for it. Dwight Howard ran all over the Atlanta Hawks’ single-coverage, but because nobody else on his team decided to do much of anything, the Hawks came away with a Game 1 victory on the road. Howard and Jameer Nelson scored 73 points; everyone else on the Magic scored 20. Howard and Nelson shot 26-41; everyone else shot 8-34. It was a brilliant strategy by the Hawks to make sure that their horrible teammates had horrible games. Let’s praise them for it! Snark aside, the bottom line is this. Playing Howard straight-up and taking away the three-point shooters is a strategy. Allowing Howard to score 46 points and hope his teammates shoot 8-34 is not. Luckily, the Hawks shot nearly 50 percent from 16-23 feet and made it work. That doesn’t mean it’s a sustainable long-term strategy, but whenever writers are given the chance to question Howard’s worth as a player for being just the 11th player since 1985 to score 45 or more points in a playoff game and lose, they’ll take it.”
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward: “There’s a reason the Magic ranked third in points allowed per possession and in the top five (per Synergy Sports) in defending pick-and-rolls where the ball-handler finishes the play (first); pick-and-rolls where the roll man finishes (fifth); spot-up chances (fifth) and scoring chances that followed offensive rebounds (first). They managed to do this all without a rotation player any group of league executives would comfortably describe as an above average defender at his position. There’s a reason no team allowed fewer shot attempts at the rim this season. “
  • There are skeptics that wonder if the Atlanta Hawks will be able to beat the Magic.
  • A great illustration as to the reason Howard won the Defensive Player of the Year award.
  • One voter did not have Howard on his ballot for Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Steve Aschburner of “The figure on the DPOY trophy, after all, surely is a perimeter guy, squatting down the way Naismith or Wooden would have taught, arms flared out in a defensive stance. Howard, of course, rarely assumes that position; he patrols inside the paint for the Magic, either lurking and banging behind his man, flashing over to give help or licking his chops at the shorties funneled his way by Magic teammates. That’s how he looked at the news conference, looming large, having his guys’ backs.”
  • Royce Young of provides his take on Howard’s impact on defense.
  • The Hawks’ win in Game 1 was crazy, but not as crazy as the other first round games.
  • M. Haubs of The Painted Area reveals his awards ballot.
  • Shannon Booher of SLAM ONLINE marvels at Howard’s Game 1 performance: “Gooooood lawd! As good as he was, that is how bad his teammates (not named Jameer Nelson) were, on offense. And these aren’t playoff newbies. We are talking Hedo [Turkoglu]. Jason Richardson. Gilbert Arenas. The list goes on. Those guys won’t be as bad next game, but Howard probably won’t be as good, either. The Hawks have at least established that they are not going out like they did last year. No brooms here.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Magic fans don’t want to draw the line connecting the dots. You can’t blame them. But the loss to Atlanta seemed to move those dots toward being in a straight line. And if things don’t change Dwight Howard could connect them himself and devastate the Orlando franchise. The starting point is here: every time Dwight Howard rejects talking in any detail about his future free agent plans — he can opt out in the summer of 2012, but rightfully says that is too far away to think about — he falls back on two themes. One, he really likes Orlando and its fans. Secondly, that he wants to win championships. You can be sure that part two outweighs part one. He has said as much.”