A coaching decision from Stan Van Gundy made Turkoglu’s fourth-quarter performance possible. Van Gundy shifted the veteran to power forward, with Jason Richardson at small forward, Redick at shooting guard, and Jameer Nelson at point guard. Van Gundy didn’t leave Rockets coach Kevin McHale much of a choice: he could either stick with a slow, big lineup with Luis Scola at the four and Sam Dalembert at the five or go small with Scola at center. McHale chose the latter–better to have Scola guard Howard inside than Turkoglu on the wing–and removed Dalembert, who played a strong game at both ends of the floor off Houston’s bench.
If J-Rich isn’t careful he is going to lose his starting spot to JJ Redick. Obviously JJ’s 20 points is great, but it’s the little things he does on off the ball that help the offense flow. Watch him catch the ball, he doesn’t waste time with jab steps. He either catches and shoots or catches and puts the ball on the floor. The ball never stops outside of the paint, which in turn keeps the defense moving and forcing them to adjust.
The level of competition was certainly different tonight against Houston as compared to the Western Conference favorite Oklahoma City.
Monday was clearly a much better effort from Orlando and getting to where the team wants to be. But they are still building up to that speed. These games count though, and at 1-1, the Magic better find that consistency sooner rather than later. The Magic hope that they can stockpile wins while they get to that stage.
Redick was hot all night, finishing with 20 points off the bench in the Magic’s home-opening victory on Monday night at Amway Center. He made 8-of-12 shots, including two of his three pointers in the fourth quarter to highlight his eight-point period.
Well, Dwight Howard has been asking more help, right?
Monday night was a rarity all right. Howard merely blended into the storyline, didn’t steal it. He has asked for help, though, right? He got it Monday night — from the very teammates he wants to leave behind.
Hedo Turkoglu and J.J. Redick were the go-to guys in the second half. The bench scored 40 of the 104 points.
It’s not like Howard had the night off or an off-night. He scored 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting, but managed just seven boards. Dwight usually collects seven boards by the last bar of the National Anthem.
We sometimes take excellence for granted, especially with Howard.
“We gave up a lot of easy points,” Rockets forward Luis Scola said. “We keep talking about this the last three years. We have no margin of error. When we give them 10 to 15 easy baskets on our mental mistakes, it’s going to be very difficult to win on the road against a good team and against anybody in the NBA.”
It was possible to win that way Monday. The Rockets repeatedly faced double-digit deficits and consistently came back to move within a 3-pointer of the Magic.
Kevin McHale went to his bench early and often, proving yet again that the firm Rick Adelman rotations of old are a thing of the past. As the season progresses, the units will surely tighten, but for now, it’s going to be a wild mix of talent, speed and height.
It was the level of disorganization that likely did in the Rockets in their first official contest. The defensive rotations were at times atrocious — especially Hill’s and Budinger’s — and the offense looked a little messy in the half court. It’s clear that on both ends, Patrick Patterson was missed.
(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: Chase Budinger, Chris Duhon, Courtney Lee, Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Glen Davis, Goran Dragic, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Jordan Hill, Kevin Martin, Kevin McHale, Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, Orlando Magic, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Samuel Dalembert, Stan Van Gundy, Von Wafer