Magic Drop Bucks Again, 114-98
The Orlando Magic needed all of their balanced offense and 52 percent three-point shooting in tonight’s game to make up for their horrendous defense throughout the game. Dwight Howard scored 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while five other Magic players also scored in double figures. But none of those stats really mattered in this game.
In typical Magic fashion, the team refused to play a full game together. It’s become somewhat of a trend for the team lately. Either they start a game strong and finish weak or start weak and finish strong. Tonight’s game was the latter.
This stat should tell you all you need to know about the game: the Magic allowed the Bucks to score 39 points on 65 percent shooting–in just the second quarter alone. One word comes to mind as a look over this stat, and it’s not championship.
The Bucks’ Brandon Jennings scored 27 points for his team that, by the way, is far from a scoring powerhouse. This is entirely because the Magic played lackadaisical defense for the entire first half. It wasn’t until half time, when Magic coach, Stan Van Gundy, ripped into his team, that the Magic showed any interest in defense.
“Let’s put it this way: I was adamant,” He admitted. “I wasn’t breaking anything. I don’t think I was going crazy. But I was pretty adamant about what needed to happen. It was probably as adamant as I’ve been all year.”
The Magic came roaring back with defense that reduced that horrendous stat into 38 points on 36 percent shooting–in the entire second half.
It’s all well and good that Stan can always find ways to wake up his players, but why does it always have to come to this?
Heck, even players recognize this trend.
“Our energy on the defensive end in the second half was tremendous,” Chris Duhon said. “Holding a team to 38 points for the whole half? That’s the team that we’re capable of being every night.”
I’m glad the team has confidence, but when is the team going to stop realizing they’re capable and simply be that team.
How important was the sudden emergence of defense to this victory? The Magic went into the fourth quarter with an 85-80 lead. They then went on to start a 16-2 scoring run that was the result of second chance points and missed shots from the Bucks.
As the old Basketball adage goes, “offense sells tickets but defense wins championships.” The Magic claim to be focused on winning a championship, so let’s see if they ever learn to play at that level of defensive pressure.
By Brandon Hayhurst
Education Career Services