After getting off to a very nice start (They hit eight of their first nine shots from the field), the Magic couldn’t get anything going against the Oklahoma City Thunder, falling 97-89 on Christmas Day.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 30 points while Ryan Anderson had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic.
- The Magic went shot for shot with the Thunder in the first quarter, but they’re hot shooting tailed off while the Thunder did a much better job than the Magic on the offensive end throughout the rest of the game, posting an effective field goal percentage of 54.2% to Orlando’s 42.0%.
- Nothing that went wrong for the Magic was really anything new.
- The Magic didn’t try to push the pace, they didn’t spread it around enough and it was an all-around poor offensive effort.
- Again, there was no one there to create their own shot. Jameer Nelson did a pretty good job of attacking the basket off of the dribble, which was one of the few positives you could take out of this game. Von Wafer played just nine minutes, but scored nine points on two shots. The sample size is clearly too small to show what Wafer can do, but his attacking mindset has to please the Magic.
- Orlando’s starting shooting guard, Jason Richardson, was brutal. He’s not much more than a spot shooter (he wasn’t that Sunday night, going 1-of-10 from the field) and the Magic need a player who can actually create.
- Hedo Turkoglu continues to look nothing like the Turk we once knew. He looked to attack early on, but then, like the rest of the Magic, started settling for long, tough jumpers. He was 3-of-10 from the field.
- Chris Duhon should not be this team’s backup point guard. Duhon played 17 minutes, likely because Stan Van Gundy is still waiting for guys like Nelson to get into game shape, but that’s way too many minutes. Duhon’s numbers don’t look bad (4 assists, 1 turnover), but his passing is just terrible at times and he makes some very poor decisions.
- Ryan Anderson had an incredible stat-line (25 points, 10 rebounds), but Van Gundy didn’t seem all that pleased with his starting power forward. Van Gundy didn’t think Anderson “screened” or “was looking to help other people.”
- It was a tough night for Dwight Howard – he had his standard 15 boards, but he scored just 11 points on 12 shots and was just 3-of-8 from the free throw line. If you’re going to beat the elite teams of the league, you need Howard to put up his normal 20+ points.
- To the surprise of many, Earl Clark entered the game in the first quarter.
- I really like what James Harden did for the Thunder. He didn’t shoot well (4-of-11) but he got himself to the line 12 times (hitting 10) and scored 19 points. Whether or not Harden can consistently play like is probably Oklahoma City’s biggest question.
- Kevin Durant, despite missing five free throws, was Kevin Durant. He made tough shots and did a great job of getting himself open jumpers in transition (I remember two specific occasions that earned him five points). Transition defense was another problem for the Magic.
Next Up: The Magic will get right back to work when they host the Houston Rockets Monday night.
Final Thought: 18 turnovers and an effective field goal percentage of 42.0% won’t win you many games. The team has some major flaws and I don’t think they currently have the pieces to fix them.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Topics: Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson, James Harden, Jason Richardson, JJ Redick, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Russell Westbrook, Ryan Anderson, Scott Brooks, Serge Ibaka, Stan Van Gundy, Thabo Sefolosha