Hedo Turkoglu takes a three-pointer over Pau Gasol in the Magic's 112-85 victory over the Grizzlies. Turkoglu made 6 of Orlando's 18 treys in the game.
Photo by Joe Murphy, NBAE/Getty Images
When Dennis Scott made what was then an NBA-record 11 three-pointers in one game, the headline of the Orlando Sentinel's sports section the next day was "3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3!" After the Magic's long-range firebombing of the Grizzlies last night, I wanted to headline this recap like the Sentinel did all those years ago, but I'm not sure there would be room for 18 numeral 3s in the title bars of most browsers. Here's the boxscore for the game, by the way.
The 18 made three-pointers set a franchise record. NBA.com was kind enough to include each and every one of them in its highlight reel. There's nothing else on it. Just threes. Which pretty much sums up the game, right? The Grizzlies let the Magic take uncontested threes throughout the game, and Orlando made them pay. Note to other teams: Hedo Turkoglu is a good shooter. Do NOT go under the pick-and-roll on him, as the Grizzlies did. Said Hedo of the Grizzlies' pick-and-roll defense, "I couldn't understand that. It's kind of taking a risk for them. It was good for me that I knocked them down. I guess they didn't want me to drive. I guess they just wanted me to shoot the ball and see if it goes in."
Stan Van Gundy mentioned after the game that he was happy with his team's defense because they held the Grizzlies to 85 points overall, only 37 of which came after halftime. The Grizzlies posted an offensive rating of 103.7 last night, well below their season-average of 107.9. For some perspective, the Chicago Bulls' offensive rating this season is 103.8, or 24th-worst in the league. Still, I don't want to give the Magic too much credit defensively. The Grizzlies packed this one in early, and who can blame them? Not only did they watch helplessly as the Magic made it rain triples on them, but they did so in front of what is literally the sparsest crowd I've ever seen at an NBA game. I went to Orlando Miracle games that were more crowded than last night's game was. Just look at all those empty seats!
Turk was clearly last night's MVP with 26 points, but there were other great individual performances as well: Carlos Arroyo shot poorly (1-of-5), but he recorded 7 assists and just 1 turnover in 24 minutes; Keyon Dooling scored 13 points in 24 minutes, shredded the Grizzlies' defense with aggressive drives, and even hit a three-pointer; and Brian Cook scored in double-figures again, adding 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting. On the Memphis side, Rudy Gay was fantastic with 20 points on just 11 shots. Stromile Swift was surprisingly competent with 8 points and 6 rebounds. Um, that's all I got. Chip at 3 Shades of Blue doesn't have much to say either, except "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue." EDIT: Chip has since updated that post with some thoughts on the game.
It's hard to take anything away from this game, though. Did we learn anything about this team that we didn't already know? The Magic take lots of threes; use the pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu; and cannot rebound worth a damn, with just 5 offensive boards in 33 chances. I suppose it's encouraging that the Magic kept pouring it on in the second half instead of letting the Grizzlies get back into it -- check out the Game Flow to see what I mean -- but the Grizzlies are the exception, and not the rule. Until we consistently close teams out, we should assume the Magic are going to blow big leads. Likewise, we can't expect to hit 18 threes every night, mostly because we can't expect our opponents to let us get that open, especially not after this game. With no disrespect intended toward Grizzlies fans, how excited should a team be after crushing Memphis by 27? Isn't that sort of expected by now?
The Magic have an off-day today, then a nationally televised rematch with the Pistons tomorrow. The team can't lose focus if it hopes to beat Detroit for the second time in a week on Friday.