In what was an ugly game, the Orlando Magic again fell to the Atlanta Hawks, in overtime, 89-87. The game was sloppy from the get-go and reminiscent of last year’s playoff series between the two teams.
Late in the fourth quarter, it looked like the Hawks were going to pull away from the Magic, but Orlando, fueled by Jameer Nelson, ended regulation on an 8-0 run, capped by a put-back dunk by Dwight Howard to tie the game at 78 and force overtime. A missed free throw, turnovers and a couple of missed shots on good looks cost the Magic and overtime.
Ryan Anderson led the Magic with 21 points while Josh Smith had a game-high 23 points and 18 rebounds.
After a string of games that saw the Magic play much better on the offensive end, they reverted to the form they showed during the stretch in which they lost four times in five games. They shot just 42.2%, made nine three-pointers and turned the ball over 16 times. On the flip side, the Hawks gave the ball away just 10 times, a statistic Stan Van Gundy pointed out after the game.
Van Gundy also again questioned the Magic’s effort and he probably had a point. The Magic gave a lackluster performance for the majority of the game, only seeming to really come alive in the last few minutes of regulation.
“We were playing extremely hard [at the end of regulation],” Jameer Nelson told reporters. “Getting into the paint, playing well together out there, and most importantly getting stops that we were allowing earlier in the game.”
When asked about the team giving a consistent effort, Van Gundy was at a loss for words.
Van Gundy also had no answers when asked about Hedo Turkoglu’s performance. Turkoglu scored Orlando’s first five points in overtime, but made some inexplicably dumb plays and wound up turning the ball over a game-high six times. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out two assisted.
Dwight Howard scored 18 points, including his big put-back dunk, but you’d have liked to see more from Howard against a team that’s really lacking big men right now. He shot 8-of-15 from the field and became very frustrated in the second half, even picking up his seventh technical foul of the season when he was called for a charge against Zaza Pachulia. Howard had a team-high 18 rebounds, but turned the ball over five times.
Jameer Nelson continued to show some improvement. He scored six points during Orlando’s big fourth quarter run and was consistently getting into the paint, something the Magic really haven’t done this season. Nelson was on such a roll that he was visibly angry when Van Gundy called timeout before Orlando’s last possession. Nelson thought he had his man beat. Still, it wasn’t all good for Nelson – he finished with 15 points on just 7-of-20 shooting. ]
Late in the game, Nelson kept getting stuck on Joe Johnson during switches and wasn’t getting help. Nelson did an admirable job but Johnson was still able to back him down to the basket. In overtime, the Magic tried to help on Johnson in the same situation, but Marvin Williams buried an open three-pointer, tying the game.
Ryan Anderson had 12 points in that fourth quarter and finished with a team-high 21. He had a very efficient night, making eight of his 13 shots and probably should have been even more aggressive and taken more shots.
- Josh Smith was angry about not being selected to the All-Star game and tried to prove he belonged. His 23-point, 19-rebound performance probably could have swayed some, but my biggest problem with Smith is shot selection and he didn’t show any improvement there Friday night. He was 9-of-22 from the field.
- Orlando got six points out of Glen Davis on 2-of-8 shooting and three from J.J. Redick on 1-of-6 shooting. Chris Duhon and Quentin Richardson each missed the only shot they took and no other Magic bench player played. Nine points on 3-of-16 shooting from the bench just won’t cut it.
- Van Gundy was happy with the defense of Joe Johnson – “6-of-16 shooting and one free throw, honestly, you’d have to take that.”
Next Up: The Magic will be in Milwaukee to take on the Bucks Saturday night.
Final Thought: This is another tough loss. The Magic went toe-to-toe with some good teams, but in the end, they went just 1-2.
(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: Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks, Chris Duhon, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, Ish Smith, Ivan Johnson, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Collins, Jason Richardson, Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Kirk Hinrich, Larry Drew, Larry Hughes, Marvin Williams, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Tracy Mcgrady, Von Wafer, Willie Green, Zaza Pachulia