The Magic are being more aggressive than the Bobcats.
And the Magic’s defense, anchored by Howard’s back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards, has been even more smothering in two games of these playoffs. Charlotte is shooting a semi-respectable 45.3 percent in the series, but they have averaged just 83 points. And they have turned the ball over a whopping 37 times.
“They are being more aggressive,’’ said Charlotte’s Jackson, who had 27 points. “They are being the more physical team. They are making the first hit and they are just out there playing like they want it more than we do. We are waiting for them to hit and respond and it’s too late.’’
John Denton offers his postgame analysis here.
Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard’s Magic teammates are upset about the way he is officiated.
Like in Orlando’s 98-89 Game 1 victory, Howard again battled through foul trouble, held to another 28-minute night. Backup Marcin Gortat was re-signed at a high price for these situations and again played about 20 minutes.
“Hopefully, the refs will start letting Dwight be a little more physical and stop calling such tic-tac fouls on him,” Barnes said. “You know, give him a chance to play. As far as the physicality, we welcome that now.”
Barnes said Howard receives “no respect. Absolutely, Dwight gets no respect from the refs, from the league, as far as not being mentioned as the MVP.
Brian Schmitz has that story here.
Mike Bianchi believes the Magic are misunderstood.
This series was billed as a coaching chess match between Larry Brown and Stan Van Gundy, but it’s starting to look more like a defensive game of dominoes between Monte Kiffin and Dick LeBeau.
Once and for all, isn’t it time everybody stopped portraying the Magic as just a bunch of running, gunning, cunning 3-point shooters? Yes, they made more 3-pointers this year than any team in NBA history, but this team would just as soon lock you down as gun you down. Even offensive-minded players like Vince Carter are spouting Van Gundy’s defense-first mantra.
“If we’re going to be the last team standing, we’re going to do it with our defense,” Carter said.
You can read his column here.
George Diaz says it’s Vince Carter’s time to shine.
The good news for the Magic is that they don’t need Vinsanity to reign to beat the Bobcats. Charlotte can’t match up against the Magic consistently. They have no counter-punch for Orlando’s inside-outside game, even when Howard is sitting on the bench thinking about the consequences of his actions, or perhaps wishing that all NBA referees go swimming with the fishes _ in deep water _ sometime very soon.
You can find that story here.
Carter was aggressive on Wednesday.
Carter fought through a tough first half by rolling to the rim and getting to the free throw line. He scored five of his seven first-half points at the charity stripe, which helped get him in a rhythm for second half of the game.
“He got to the free throw line,” said Bobcats Head Coach Larry Brown. “He did some good things.”
Vinsanity then went on to hit four of his six attempts from the field, scoring 12 of his team-high 19 points after the break.
“In the second half, I tried to be a little bit more aggressive and get closer to the basket and put the ball in the hole,” Carter explained.
Dan Savage has that story here.
Turnovers did the Bobcats in.
Brown said following Game One that they couldn’t afford to keep turning over the ball if they ever expect to score enough points. There was actually slippage in that regard. They committed more turnovers (21, to Sunday’s 17) and scored even fewer points (compared to Sunday’s 89).
Several Bobcats acknowledged that’s about panicking in the face of the Magic’s defensive intensity.
“Our defense is keeping us in it, and our offense is keeping us out of the game,” said center Tyson Chandler. “We can’t come off what we do and just look for our jump shots. We’re not a jump-shot team and not a 1-on-1 team.
Rick Bonnell has that story here.
The Bobcats have to get off to better starts to have a chance.
Watching the Bobcats in the first quarter felt like cringing at the Carolina Panthers’ offense in their infamous Arizona playoff game. If Jake Delhomme had been playing point guard, it could not have been worse.
Of the Bobcats’ first 13 possessions, they failed to score on 12. They turned the ball over six times. They shot an air ball.
On Wednesday the Magic played much better without Howard than they did on Sunday.
Once again, Dwight Howard was plagued by foul trouble, which reduced his playing time to 28:32. But, unlike Game 1, backup Marcin Gortat was prepared and effectively aggressive in his time on the court, taking two charges, blocking a shot and registering a plus-13 in his 19:28 (Howard was plus-2).
More conscious of feeding Howard in the post than they were the previous game, the Magic also generated better spacing, ball movement and overall activity when Howard sat and that responsibility was removed. Vince Carter began penetrating and getting to the foul line and, for the second straight game, Mickael Pietrus was a tonic off the bench.
The Magic didn’t even suffer from Howard’s absence on the defensive end, holding Charlotte without a field goal for more than seven minutes during an extended second-quarter stretch when the Defensive Player of the Year was on the sideline.
Brit Robson has that story here.
Despite his foul trouble, Howard had a better night on offense.
Howard overcame foul trouble and Charlotte’s tenacious defense on Wednesday night to score 15 points and help the Magic defeat the Bobcats 92-77 in Game 2 of the teams’ first-round playoff series.
“I just tried to be physical, and I just tried to keep my composure and play through everything,” Howard said. His best stretch offensive came at the start of the second half, when he scored the Magic’s first nine points of the third quarter.
Josh Robbins has that story here.
Philip Rossman-Reich talked about Orlando’s use of the pick-and-roll.
Carter and Jameer Nelson ran the pick and roll to perfection as Charlotte continued to elect to switch on every perimeter screen. This gave Carter post ups on Raymond Felton which he took full advantage of. Carter should be getting to the line 10-plus times per game. Hopefully this becomes the norm rather than the exception.
With Carter attacking, everything began to slowly open up for Orlando offensively. The third quarter was where the Magic opened their lead up from around 10 points to 20 points. Carter and Dwight Howard had a lot to do with this transformation.
You can find that story here.
Orlando showed off their depth.
“Fortunately for us, we have a lot of weapons,” Carter said. “It’s a luxury. Our bench has been great. Our second wave of guys come in and they’re ready to go. They’ve saved us a lot of times this season.”
Reserve Mickael Pietrus has combined to hit seven of 11 shots from 3-point range in this series. Reserve J.J. Redick hit the key shot and scored 10 points in Game 1. Backup center Marcin Gortat has averaged 19 minutes as Howard’s backup, and the Magic opened a 20-point lead when he was in Game 2.
“Anyone on this team can get hot, and really carry us,” said reserve Matt Barnes. “And that takes a lot of pressure off our top four (Carter, Howard, Nelson and Rashard Lewis). I think that’s what makes us a good team. There’s always somebody there.”
Tim Povtak has that story here.
Bobcats Baseline agreed.
The Magic simply had too many weapons tonight. Though Dwight Howard was held to a modest line (15 points on 5-10 FG/5-12 FT, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks) he was absolutely dominant for a stretch early in the third quarter that set the tone for the rest of the second half.
You can read their recap here.
The Magic blew the game open in the third quarter.
What was special about the third quarter? Well, Dwight Howard dominated the post for the first few minutes, scoring 9 straight points for the Magic. And then Vince Carter (yes, the much maligned Vince) took over, attacking the rim for 3 layups and 3 more foul shots to finish with 8 points for the quarter. All that penetration led to a sagging Bobcats defense and the Magic capitalized by hitting 3 three-pointers in the final 3 minutes of the quarter to balloon their lead to 20, and for all purposes sealing the victory. Again – thanks to Vince Carter working the pick and roll to get to the rim.
Brett Hainline of Queen City Hoops has that story here.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).
Topics: 2010 Nba Playoffs, Brandon Bass, Charlotte Bobcats, Dwight Howard, Gerald Wallace, Jameer Nelson, Jason Williams, JJ Redick, Larry Brown, Marcin Gortat, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus, Orlando Magic, Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Stephen Jackson, Vince Carter