Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
Like the Orlando Magic’s game against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, this one should have been over in the first quarter.
The Magic jumped out to a 15-point lead in the period thanks in large part due to precise execution on offense. Granted, the defense for the Milwaukee Bucks was porous but Orlando still had to take advantage and they did. Jameer Nelson did an excellent job of running pick-and-roll sets that generated points for the Magic. And surprisingly enough, even though Orlando is one of the worst fast break teams in the NBA, they had 10 points in transition in the quarter.
When the Magic are executing offensively, both in half-court sets and fast break opportunities, it’s easy to see why they scored 36 points in the period.
The issue is that Orlando relinquished their double-digit lead fairly quickly. This has been a recurring problem for the Magic all season.
Against the Bucks, the main culprit was the second unit. The same goes for other games too. Usually.
The primary issue with Orlando’s second unit is that even though J.J. Redick and/or Ryan Anderson anchor the lineup, they have to play with guys like Chris Duhon, Ish Smith, Quentin Richardson, Von Wafer, DeAndre Liggins, Earl Clark, and Glen Davis. That creates two problems: 1.) the offense takes a nosedive and 2.) the defense takes a nosedive. For as talented offensively as Redick and Anderson are, they can’t make up for the deficiencies of their teammates. As for the defense, with no Howard, the Magic aren’t putting up much of a resistance out there. Combine the two issues and you have blown second quarter leads
That’s what happened against Milwaukee.
From the start of the second quarter, in roughly six minutes, the Bucks cut their 15-point deficit to three points. Milwaukee even took the lead briefly near the end of the period.
As such, Orlando was in another dogfight (similar to the Wizards game) up until the start of the fourth quarter. Fortunately for the Magic, this time around, unlike against Washington, they were able to put the game away early in the period.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
After struggling to score against Drew Gooden in their first matchup this season, Dwight exacted a bit of revenge in tonight’s game. Dwight was deadly, combining those hook shots of his with a plethora of dunks.
LVP (Least Valuable Player)
How about Orlando’s second unit of Duhon-Redick-Wafer-Clark-Davis? In the second quarter, the Bucks went on a 14-2 run against them. Unfortunately for head coach Stan Van Gundy, he has to rely on those players.
The Magic were able to finish off Milwaukee in the fourth quarter and Redick was a big reason why. Redick scored 10 of his 14 points in the period, making two three-pointers in the left corner that served as daggers.