If you enjoy offense, there’s a good chance you didn’t enjoy Orlando’s 93-89 overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite playing rather poorly on offense (albeit against the league’s number one defense), the Magic still came away with a victory and finished 3-2 on their road trip.
Dwight Howard led the Magic with 31 points, 22 rebounds and three blocks while Brandon Jennings had 23 points and eight assists to lead the Bucks.
Brandon Jennings got the Bucks off to a hot start, outscoring the Magic 9-8 in the early going and helped the Bucks take a 13-10 lead.
The Magic missed their first four shots. When Jason Richardson hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 13, he ignited the Magic on a 13-0 run that saw them go from 5-of-6 from the field while Jennings and the Bucks were ice cold.
Jennings, who made his first four shots, missed his next five and the Bucks went just 6-of-22 from the field in the quarter.
The Bucks shot better in the second quarter (9-of-18). The Magic continued to shoot at a high clip (10-of-17) but went just 4-of-9 from the free throw line and let a late Earl Barron jumper cap a 6-1 Bucks run that cut Orlando’s lead to 46-37 at the half.
The Bucks offense finally came to life in the second half. John Salmons, who had just 2 points on 1-of-5 shooting in the first half,
Milwaukee outscored the Magic 27-15, including a 15-4 run to close the period and took a one-point lead into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was back-and-forth as both offenses struggled. The Magic finally got back into the lead on a pair of Dwight Howard free throws with 5:22 to go. They soon extended the lead to four but gave the Bucks a chance to tie because of four missed free throws in the last 4:05 of the game. Jameer Nelson then fouled Jennings shooting a 3-pointer. Jennings made all three shots to tie the game with 4.3 seconds left. Jason Richardson’s contested 3-pointer didn’t fall and the game went to overtime.
The Magic appeared to take control in overtime, outscoring the Bucks 6-2 in the first 3:13 of the game but Nelson again fouled Jennings on a 3-point attempt but this time, the shot went in. Jennings made the free throw to tie the game. With the game tied at 87, Hedo Turkoglu hit a long, contested two to give Orlando the lead. After another stop Nelson swished a two, putting Orlando up four with 23.4 seconds to go. John Salmons got a layup to tie the game and sent Turkoglu to the free throw line (only after Jameer Nelson ran off a good seven of so seconds. Turkoglu hit both free throws, effectively ending the game.
After the jump, you can read more thoughts and observations from the game.
Although the Magic still made silly mistakes and turned the ball over in terrible situations (13 total times), their biggest problem was the way they shot from the free throw line. They shot just 20-of-35 from the free throw line and couldn’t close out the game in regulation because of it.
However the Magic went 4-of-4 from the stripe in overtime and did not turn the ball over in the extra frame.
Sure, it’s easy to criticize the final play of regulation afterwards (hindsight is 20/20) but Orlando’s last play didn’t make a whole lot of sense. They had plenty of time (4.3 seconds) to get a good shot off but inbounded the ball straight to Jason Richardson, who attempted a long, contested 3-pointer over former Magic guard Keyon Dooling. The Magic had time to let Turkoglu or Nelson drive and get up a shot and attempt to draw a foul or to even get ball into Howard, who would have needed just one make to give Orlando the lead.
Speaking of Howard, he had another gigantic game. The big man filled up the stat sheet with 31 points, 22 rebounds and three blocks. Howard was a nightmare for Milwaukee centers – he fouled out both Larry Sanders (18 minutes) and John Brockman (22 minutes) and drew five on Earl Barron (21 minutes). He continues to like the potential MVP of the league. Unfortunately for Howard, most analysts seem preoccupied with what Derrick Rose is doing. Although he’s been impressive he simply hasn’t been as good as Howard (or LeBron James for that matter).
Ryan Anderson didn’t bring his shot (seven points on 2-of-8 shooting) to Milwaukee but he more than made up for it with the way he rebounded the ball. Anderson, one of the leagues’s most underrated rebounders, finished with 13 boards in 32 minutes and rightfully earned all of the crunch time minutes over Brandon Bass.
With J.J. Redick out for the fourth straight game, the Magic again had to play all three of their point guards and it was not a day to remember for any of them. Not only did Nelson twice foul Jennings while shooting a 3-pointer, but he managed just 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting. In fact, Orlando’s three point guards (Nelson, Gilbert Arenas and Chris Duhon) combined for 17 points on 8-of-24 shooting) (it should be noted that Arenas again played shooting guard in Redick’s absence and Duhon only took one shot (which went in)).
Hedo Turkoglu had another rough shooting night (6-of-15) but made some key plays down the stretch, which included scoring eight of his 19 points in overtime.
Next Up: The Magic will return home Friday to host the red-hot Denver Nuggets.
Final Thought: The Magic had tired legs and didn’t play well but they found away to come away with a win.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080′s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).
Tags: Andrew Bogut Brandon Bass Brandon Jennings Chris Duhon Corey Maggettee Dwight Howard Earl Boykins Earl Clark Gilbert Arenas Hedo Turkoglu J.j. Redick Jameer Nelson Jason Richardson John Salmons Keyon Dooling Orlando Magic Ryan Anderson Scott Skiles Stan Van Gundy