Another Magic Meltdown – Mavs Steal Win in Orlando
The tough losses keep rolling in for the Orlando Magic. After the incredibly embarrassing loss in New York on Wednesday night, the Magic looked ready to avenge that defeat with a solid win over the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. For 3 quarters they were on track. When it mattered most, they melted down.
Dallas pulled out the victory after an impossible Dirk Nowitzki step back bank shot gave Dallas the 100-98 lead with 5.1 seconds remaining. After Hedo Turkoglu missed a wide-open game winning three point attempt, Ryan Anderson corralled the rebound but rushed his put back attempt which hit back iron and rimmed out as time expired. Dallas win, 100-98.
“I thought I just had to rush it up because we had 5 seconds left so, I just rushed it.” – Ryan Anderson on his final shot.
The Magic led by 15, 77-62, with 2:35 remaining in the 3rd , before Dallas closed the quarter out on a 9-1 run. Dallas tied the game with 6:12 remaining in the game but never actually led until Delonte West knocked in 2 free throws with 1:10 remaining. Jameer Nelson had a chance to retake the lead with 26 second left at the free throw line, but made just 1 of 2 to tie the game, rather than take the lead. Next came Dirk.
“He made a really tough shot at the end to give them that lead. He is a clutch guy.” -Ryan Anderson
Fourth quarter turnovers and overall poor free throw shooting would doom the team.
“The problem is this. We shoot 60% from the line. 17-28. 12 turnovers in the second half.” -Stan
— MagicBBallOnline (@MagicBasketball) March 31, 2012
Other than the obvious missed free throw by Jameer, the bulk of those free throw misses came from franchise superstar Dwight Howard. Dwight was responsible for 9 of the team’s 11 free throw misses on the night, shooting 7-16 from the line. Despite the free throw struggles, Dwight still managed to put in 19 points and grab 15 rebounds.
Jameer Nelson led the team in scoring with 24 points. Ryan Anderson had 21.
“It’s a game we were in a position to win, and should have won had we done a few things better.” – J.J. Redick after his 2-point, 3-turnover performance.
J.J. is right. It is absolutely a game this team should have won. But if we have learned anything from this 2011-2012 Orlando Magic team, it’s that consistency and logic isn’t their style. They played sloppy when it mattered most, they couldn’t stop another team’s dynamic scorers (Dirk, Terry), they had nobody to go to offensively to put the game away.
Maybe the only illogical factor in this whole equation, is fans and media having unrealistic expectations for a team that has been the same since game 1 of the season. Ya think?
J.J. Redick said it all. Maybe we should believe him. Redick, “We haven’t had one of those long winning streaks or anything like that. I think the consistency on a night to night has been… poor.”
More news, notes, tidbits, and analysis:
- Vince Carter and Stan Van Gundy shared pleasantries and a hug right before the tip. No word on if Stan was thanking him for his departure.
- Dwight Howard remains on his quest to learn how to shoot free throws. On his quest tonight, Dwight took another detour with an air-balled 1st quarter free throw. As mentioned above, 7-16 on the night from the line.
- Dick Bavetta and Joey Crawford both officiated tonight’s game. At one point, I was seriously concerned that courtside fans might jump Joey Crawford for some of his calls.
- Dwight Howard, the Closer, had just 2 4th quarter points. Jason Terry, had 10 4th quarter points.
- J.J. Redick’s above quote about not having any long winning streaks is accurate. The longest win streak is 5, longest losing streak is 4.