Orlando (104) Houston (95) – Much Ado About Shooting

If the two preseason games and the home opener have taught us anything about the current state of the Orlando Magic it’s their inability to shoot 3-pointers any kind of shot. This might come as a shock to many of you at home because, as you may or may not know, the Magi consider themselves a 3-point shooting team.

Orlando Magic - Hedo Turkoglu

Before tonight’s game began, Dwight Howard thanked fans for being patient with the NBA Lockout… I wonder if he was actually asking us to be patient with the team’s recent shooting performances. Oh, and by recent I mean last season as well.

If you remember last year’s playoff run—scratch that, let’s call it a short walk—you’ll remember the team’s shooting percentages against the Atlanta Hawks, as a whole, made Baseball players feel real good about their batting averages.

However, tonight was (finally) different. The Magic received a strong shooting performance from almost every player tonight, creating a balanced offense that ended the team-wide shooting slump. Hedo Turkoglu led the pack with 23 points.

I’m going to let that one sink in for a while…

No, it’s not a typo.

Hedo Turkoglu had a vintage performance reminiscent of his 2007/2008 season in which he was awarded Most Improved Player in the NBA and earned his nickname “Mister Fourth Quarter”.   By no coincidence, 13 of those 23 points were scored in the 4th quarter.

“My teammates and coach and everybody just kept telling me to be aggressive,” Turkoglu said of his performance. “ Look for your shot first and look for the teammates.”

Perhaps he should have just said, “I started making shots.”

Speaking of making shots, JJ Redick deserves a special mention for his red-hot shooting, connecting on three out of four shots from beyond the arc.

Due to the streaks of these two, Magic coach, Stan Van Gundy, switched some players’ positions around. Redick played Shooting Guard, Richardson played Small Forward, and Turkoglu played Power Forward. After all, the last thing he wanted to do was bench two on-fire players due to position constraints.

As far as the Houston Rockets are concerned, they played a balanced ball game as well. Both Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry combined to form an effective passing/scoring core, mimicking the Magic’s “one-in, four-out” strategy. The simple difference is Orlando’s newly-found shooting ability consistently ruined any chances of cutting the lead down, as small as it was throughout the game.

By the way, what’s with their star player, Kevin Martin, scoring a measly 4 points? Does he want to go to the New Jersey Nets now too?

Moving on, now that the shooting slump is over and the Magic have won a clean, unblemished game, let’s focus our attention on more serious subjects that really matter… Where’s Dwight going!?!? Is he going to stay?!?!

Written by Brandon Hayhurst
Education Career Services



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