It was a busy but rather bizarre week for the Magic men. Four games scheduled,3 actually played and two starters went down with injuries. The first game of the week against the Knicks was canceled due to an asbestos scare (which turned out to be premature and false) in Madison Square garden. That marked the 2nd game this year canceled because of facility/arena issues that the Magic were supposed to play in. Being that this was a regular season game it will be re-scheduled soon by the league office.
On Wednesday the Minnesota Timberwolves came to town only to wish their game with the Magic had been canceled like New York’s. The T-Wolves were treated like a team that should be contracted a la David Stern after an embarrassing 128-86 loss at the hands of Orlando. The Magic dominated the game from beginning to end with Dwight Howard posting video game type numbers in 23 minutes of play (18pts 16rebs, and 8 blks in case you were wondering). The interesting thing to note in this game was that Ryan Anderson got the start at power forward moving Rashard Lewis to the small. Van Gundy made mention to this type of lineup in the pre-season but this was the first time we saw it all year. Anderson responded with 19pts , 3rebs, 3blks and 4 3pointers in only 19 minutes. In a game that was fun for all the Magic players, Brandon Bass also posted his best line of the season with 19pts and 8rebs.
Friday night the Nets stepped into the Amway Center ready for their turn against the defending Southeast division champs. New Jersey is much improved and gave the Magic a competitive game for two quarters actually leading 51-48 at halftime. Orlando came out in the 3rd quarter with a focused defensive effort and held the Nets to 16 points in the quarter. Brook Lopez struggled against Dwight Howard all night. Unable to back Superman down Lopez shot a woeful 3-17 on his way to 10 measley points. The Magic showed another balanced attack and closed out the Nets 105-90. Ryan Anderson again started at the 4 but only played 9 minutes. Jameer Nelson twisted his ankle very late in the game and was questionable going into Saturday’s game.
As it turned out Nelson did not play Saturday against the Charlotte Bobcats. Chris Duhon got the start in Nelson’s absence and was serviceable. That was not the only lineup change as Van Gundy scrapped the Ryan Anderson project and reinstated Quentin Richardson back into the starting lineup. Rashard Lewis went back to the power forward position and responded with his best effort of the season scoring 22 points and a couple of dare I say clutch jumpers. The game was controlled by the Magic throughout 3 quarters, but the Bobcats made a run in the 4th that made the game closer than it needed to be. Vince Carter slipped something nasty on a late possession in the 4th and did not return. He was bringing the ball up in place of Duhon when it happened and it looked rather freakish. As it turns out Carter is day to day with a hip injury. The Bobcats proved to be more formidable then they were in the playoffs this past spring but still fell to the Magic 91-88. Quentin Richardson made an improbable driving lay-up going left that sealed the game with 10 seconds remaining. Finally the Magic played a close game, and more importantly they came out victorious.
As some would expect the Magic are 4-1 after the first two weeks of the season. With their only loss coming at the hands of Miami. Week 3 begins Monday with the 6-1 Hawks visiting the Amway Center. The Hawks will be on the 2nd night of back to back following their first loss to Phoenix. Wednesday Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz come to town. Friday it’s the Raptors at home followed by the Nets on Saturday back in New Jersey. The week will be largely determined by the health of both Nelson and Carter. I expect the Magic to be 7-2 at week’s end especially if Carter and or Nelson can’t go against Atlanta. The lineup Van Gundy will deploy should Carter miss time will be anybody’s guess but he has said he plans to play everybody on the roster throughout the season. His hope is to have incredible depth and for the each player to be ready should their number called come playoff time. An interesting strategy that could pay huge returns if executed as he plans. Let’s hope for a little normalcy and health this week!
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com