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Friend turned Foe

Posted By Warren Shaw On Jan 26 2011 @ 11:48 am In Orlando Magic | No Comments

On Monday night the Magic were bested by an old friend turned foe. Tracy McGrady jumped into the “hot tub time machine” showing flashes of his former self with a 20pt, 7reb, and 5ast performance in Detroit’s 103-96 victory over Orlando. Most of his damage was done in the first half (17pts), and Quentin Richardson wiped the dust of his sneakers to provide a defensive spark that helped slow McGrady’s roll in the 2nd half. Unfortunately for Orlando, Ben Gordon and Austin Daye combined for 36pts off the Detroit bench and did most of the heavy lifting in the 2nd half for Detroit. Orlando came to within 4 points of the Pistons in the 4th quarter and it seemed liked “Team Resilient” was on its way to another come back via the 3 point shot. Alas it was to no avail, Austin Daye connected on 4-4 3pointers with two of them coming in the final quarter that prevented the Magic from completing a comeback. Yes, Austin Daye.

Detroit only committed 6 turnovers in the game and held Dwight Howard to a somewhat unimpactful 20pts and 16rebs. “Guys just have to want to play, that’s it,” Howard said. “Either we get it together or we’re just going to be a playoff team that doesn’t win a championship. We’ve just got to play. Everybody knows what to do. We’re professional athletes. We know what to do, so it’s on us.” Superman is not talking to Ryan Anderson in that statement as Anderson continued his strong and consistent play with 21pts and 5rebs off the Orlando bench. Missing in action again was Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkgolu and Gilbert Arenas. The trio combined for just 19pts on 8-26 shooting. Not exactly offensive efficiency.

Further complicating matters is the bench rotation. The Magic bench has been limited to just 3 players for several games (Anderson, Arenas, and J.J. Redick) as Coach Van Gundy attempts to settle in on an 8 man rotation. “We have to get a lot better defensively, which is my responsibility,” he said. “I played Quentin tonight (Monday night) and maybe I’ll have to play him more, or maybe we will have to play other people if these guys won’t commit to it. We’ve just got to defend a lot better than we did tonight.” A familiar tune indeed.

The Magic will attempt to improve their defense against the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night. The Pacers are the 3rd worst shooting team in the league at 43% and should help the Orlando defense with that fact alone.

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