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Orlando’s starting small forward has played miserably, apart from his passing, against Atlanta. He’s shooting 27.3 percent from the floor and averaging just 8 points in 33.6 minutes per game. He’s tended to shoot when he should pass and to defer when he should shoot. Further, Josh Smith has toasted him at the other end of the floor, averaging 15.6 points and more than 5 foul shots per game; he’d be even more effective if he were more accurate at the line than 50 percent, but that’s a separate issue.
The Magic’s two wins in this series prove they can dispatch Atlanta even with Turkoglu struggling. But you have to believe, at least a little bit, that a strong outing from Turkoglu tonight–say an efficient 12 points, with 5 assists and few turnovers–could tip the balance back in Orlando’s favor. He ought to be running the high screen-and-roll with Dwight Howard quite often, simply because it opens up everything in Orlando’s arsenal.
Turk can take it to the rim himself, stop to pop a jumper, dish to Howard on the roll, dish to Brandon Bass (or Ryan Anderson, depending on who’s playing power forward) filling the space Howard creates, dish to Jason Richardson in the corner, dish to Jameer Nelson up top or along the weak side wing, dribble along the baseline to force more defensive movement… you get the idea. No team can possibly take every option away, and especially not one playing Jason Collins, who’s only marginally more mobile than the basket stanchion, at center.
Make sure to check out Dunlap’s other keys to Game 6 for the Orlando Magic.
Turkoglu is merely one of the pieces to the puzzle as the Magic look to even the series with the Atlanta Hawks, though he is an important piece.