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Trailing 93-89 with 1:01 left in the game, the Orlando Magic had possession of the ball with a chance to cut the Chicago Bulls’ lead to two or one (or tie the game with a four-point play). Even though the Bulls were leading with time winding down in regulation, the Magic had a chance to come back and win the game by executing on both ends of the floor. Orlando needed points, then a stop on defense to give themselves an opportunity to secure a victory.
Unfortunately for the Magic, it didn’t work out that way thanks to Glen Davis.
With 16 seconds left on the shot clock and the ball in his hands, Davis found himself wide open behind the three-point line at the top of the key. There’s a reason for that — he’s not a three-point shooter by any stretch of the imagination so no one’s going to guard him that far out on the perimeter. But instead of stepping inside the arc to take a better shot, passing the basketball to a teammate (like Arron Afflalo who was efficiently leading the way for Orlando offensively), or doing anything that didn’t involve him shooting the basketball, Davis — he of a career three-point percentage of 15.8 percent on 38 attempts — decided to pull an Andrew Bynum and shoot an ill-timed three-pointer. Did I mention that, before the three-point attempt, Davis had 16 points on 21 shots?
It was one of the worst mental errors you’ll see from an NBA player in crunch time. There was no reason whatsoever for Davis to attempt a three-point shot, let alone a shot of any kind given that his poor shot selection and inefficiency was hurting the Magic offensively throughout the game, yet he did it anyway. Davis’ decision left Orlando open for the knockout punch.
The Bulls took advantage, finishing the Magic off on the ensuing possession, with Taj Gibson completing a three-point play and increasing Chicago’s lead to seven with the score 96-89 and 39 seconds left in the game. The Bulls would hang on for a six-point victory.
Even though Orlando lost, for Magic fans, the one major takeaway from this game was the play of Afflalo.
Even though Afflalo’s reputation on defense has taken a hit in recent years, he’s highly regarded for his efficiency offensively. That aspect of his game was on full display, against Chicago’s defense no less, as Afflalo was able to score all over the court in different ways without using up too many possessions (scoring 28 points on 17 shots). Afflalo’s workmanlike performance was a direct contrast from Davis’ shot chucking.
In many ways, the Magic’s loss to the Bulls was a case study on the value of being efficient on offense, with Afflalo and Davis showing how you can help and hurt a team simultaneously.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
Even though it was in a losing effort, Afflalo showed the full breadth of his game offensively and did so efficiently, scoring in catch-and-shoot opportunities, in isolation, in transition, you name it.
LVP (Least Valuable Player)
It can’t be understated how much Davis hurt Orlando despite posting a double-double (16 points and 10 rebounds). All those shots he attempted and missed could have been redistributed to guys like Redick, Afflalo, and Moore offensively.
In a close ballgame, Chicago’s midrange shooting ended up being one of the differences in the game. The Bulls shot 9-for-13 from 16-23 feet in the deciding fourth quarter.