If it's J.J. Redick time, it's garbage time: Redick shoots a layup against the Kings in the Magic's 112-93 romp.
Photo by Fernando Medina, NBAE/Getty Images
I'm going to start a Brian Cook Fan Club. I really want to. He and Keyon Dooling pick-and-roll'd the Kings to death to start the fourth quarter, combining to score the Magic's first 20 points of the period to slam the door shut in Sacramento's face. Count me as one of the assorted fans who gave Cook a standing ovation when coach Stan Van Gundy pulled him out of the game.
The first half of the game was brutal to watch, although Dwight Howard did manage to put up some highlight-reel dunks, including one over Spencer Hawes, who is younger than I am. And, on one amusing sequence, the Kings' Mikki Moore caught the ball right in the middle of the lane with Howard draped all over him. Moore pump-faked a few times, pivoted, threw up a hook shot... and Howard sent it back in his face. Did Moore really think he was going to fake-out Dwight Howard?
Anyway, the halftime score was 46-all, and neither team played particularly hard or well. Only Howard and the Kings' Kevin Martin distinguished themselves. Most everyone else went through the motions until about halfway through the period, when the Magic scored 9 points in a 40-second span thanks to great hustle. Rashard Lewis made a deep three-pointer. On the next possession, the Magic forced Martin to miss a layup, leading to a Keith Bogans three-pointer in transition. Moore threw a lazy inbounds pass, which Bogans tipped off Kings guard Beno Udrih and out-of-bounds. PA announcer Paul Porter's voice boomed "MAGIC BALL!", the crowd began to stir, and Hedo Turkoglu made a layup, got fouled, and converted the free throw. The time was approximately 7 PM, and the Magic had finally woken up.
Sactown Royalty wasn't a fan of Kings coach Reggie Theus' substitution patterns at the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter. I thought his biggest mistake was not having Ron Artest guard Howard more often. The one possession he did, Artest baited Howard into committing an offensive foul.
Stan Van Gundy also made mistakes. In the first half Martin frequently got wide-open jump shots because of poor defensive rotations on the Magic's part. Van Gundy opted to use Howard to double-team Artest each time he touched the ball, leaving Moore open. Maurice Evans would then shift down to cover Moore, leaving Martin wide-open beyond the three-point arc. Thankfully, the Magic abandoned this strategy in the second half, during which Martin scored only 7 points.
Overall, a solid win in front of the home crowd. We've won 4 of our last 5 games and our defense seems to be getting better, although that's not saying much. For more on the game, check out the boxscore and the GameFlow.
Lots of strange little things in and around the arena last night. To wit:
- Spotted outside the arena before the game: a man wearing a Cuttino Mobley Magic jersey. I couldn't believe it. Dude only played 23 games with us before we traded him for... wait for it... Doug Christie.
- Theus strode across the sidelines prior to the National Anthem to shake hands with the Magic coaching staff. It was a classy move.
- The National Anthem was sung by children from a local elementary school. It was, by far, the most entertaining Anthem of the season, and they received a rousing and well-deserved ovation.
- On the night when the Magic gave away action figures bearing his likeness, Jameer Nelson shot 1-of-11, yet it certainly didn't seem as though he took that many shots. Give him credit for being inconspicuous in his sucking, although Kelly Dwyer picked up on it right away.
- Early in the fourth quarter, Adonal Foyle made a great pass (!) to Brian Cook, who was cutting along the baseline, leading to an acrobatic (!!) reverse layup (!!!). UPDATE: Fernando Medina snapped a photo of said layup.
- Pat Garrity was active and actually got playing time. There's no good reason for him to be active instead of James Augustine, but I don't mind Auggie being on the sidelines. He's a great dresser, mostly because his jackets are cut very well.
- Rashard Lewis blocked three shots. The Magic are now 1-0 when Lewis blocks three shots or more. In a related story, Rashard Lewis is 6'10", and it took him 57 games to finish one with three blocks. That's bad. Still, if you had told me at the beginning of the seasn that Lewis would block three shots before scoring 30 points -- something he still hasn't done -- I would have said you were full of it.
- Brad Miller is one of the NBA's most intimidating players. After a few calls didn't go his way, I feared for Dwight Howard's life; Miller looked possessed. Unsurprisingly, he launched a three-pointer out of frustration, and it missed. Badly.