Magic can't get it done in second half against Nuggets
Brian Schmitz recaps the Orlando Magic's loss against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.
Magic center Dwight Howard was coming off a season-high 30-point game against the Kings, but was stymied by the Nuggets. He finished with just eight points, 13 rebounds and five turnovers as the Magic dropped to 12-9 on the road.
"They (the Nuggets) have better interior defenders than we saw (Tuesday night)," Van Gundy said. "If we can't get Jameer (Nelson) and Rashard (Lewis) going, we're going to struggle."
Nelson scored just eight points and Lewis six points. Orlando needed some production from them with starting shooting guard Vince Carter (shoulder) missing his third consecutive game.
The Magic played the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, the second game on their current four-game road trip out West.
News on Jameer Nelson still trying to recover from his injury.
Nelson's explosiveness and quickness hasn't yet returned. As for now, there's no thought by the club about giving his knee more recovery time.
"All I know is that he's cleared to play and he's playing hard, but right now, I just don't think that he has his quickness," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "That is what you notice most. I don't think he gets to the floor without being healthy, so unless they tell me otherwise, we'll stick with him.
"He seems to be having a hard time at times with his energy level."
What if the Orlando Magic kept Chauncey Billups?
Schmitz wonders how Magic history might have changed if they kept Chauncey Billups, a player who has tormented them for years, instead of renouncing his free-agent rights in their quest to sign two free agents to maximum contracts in 2000.
And after Lewis, the NBA leader in 3-pointers made last season, got just nine shots and three 3-point attempts in another offensive struggle, he vented about the Magic’s lack of flow and rhythm.
``Every night in order for me to have a good game I feel like I have to make every shot, every last one of them because I’m not getting very many of them,’’ said Lewis, who had just six points. ``Not to blame it on me not getting shots because we’ve still got to play defense, but we’re just not getting in a good offensive rhythm as a team.
``It’s a different feel,’’ Lewis continued. ``I don’t like to complain too much about not getting shots at the offensive end, but if you’re losing ballgames and struggling then you might have to go say something.’’
More after the jump.
2009-10 Game 39: Denver Nuggets 115 - Orlando Magic 97
Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company breaks down Denver's win against Orlando and takes time in the process to praise Jason Williams.
With the hideous ink Jason Williams has on him, how has he never been a Denver Nugget? Williams is the only player I have ever seen get a standing ovation for missing a layup on the road. White Chocolate took the league by storm his rookie season with his flashy play and devil-may-care attitude. In a game against the Wizards he caught an outlet pass and dribbled up the floor. He froze a defender and spun around him at midcourt without missing a beat, the then again spun around a defender at the three point line and then went under the rim to avoid an a player attempting to block his shot and missed the layup. The Washington fans roundly stood and applauded though despite the fact he failed to finish. His coaches may not have loved the risks he took on the floor, but Williams was an entertainer and fans all over could not get enough of him.
Nuggets defense ruins Magic show
Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post explains why the Nuggets were able to defeat the Magic.
Superman smashed his left forearm into the immovable Chris Andersen, and at this moment, it looked as if Birdman was the one made of steel.
Orlando's Dwight Howard tried again but couldn't get space from the low-left block toward the basket, ultimately flailing to the floor with the basketball in hand. Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony scooted over and simply scooped the ball from the helpless Howard's hands.
Such was Wednesday night for the wandless Magic, which lost 115-97 to Denver because of little production from its all-star big man. The Nuggets' Nene and Andersen suffocated Howard, who finished with 13 rebounds, sure, but just eight points (1-for-7 shooting) and was less of a factor offensively than reserve Mickael Pietrus (12 points).
"The way we stepped in on him, jumped in on him and confused him, it was a combination of the guys trying to physically keep him from the tip of the rim," Denver coach George Karl said. "That's more of a body-to-body contact wrestling match — I'm sure they'll be sore tomorrow."
Lawson makes point of being ready to play
Head coach George Karl sees an MVP award in Dwight Howard's future, as long as he can continue to grow on the offensive side of the ball.
Orlando star Dwight Howard made his lone regular-season appearance in Denver. "I think you're probably looking at the next big guy in the league who has a chance of winning an MVP," Karl said of Howard before the game. "If his offense can get to 25, 30 points per game, he'd have to be considered an MVP. (Tim) Duncan and (Chris) Bosh have that talent, but all the other great big men have probably squeezed out all they have."
Karl wasn't necessarily talking about this season. Howard leads the NBA in rebounding (13.2 average) and blocked shots (2.5), and he averages 17.2 points. But the big guy is only 24 years old. The last big men to win the MVP award were Dirk Nowitzki (2007), Kevin Garnett (2004) and Duncan (2003). The last true center to win was Shaquille O'Neal (2000), interestingly his only MVP award.
Behind the Box Score, where the Nugs destroyed the Magic
UPDATE: Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie chimes in with his thoughts.
It wasn't pretty, rather piecemeal if I'm honest (and I watched nearly all of this), but I agree with George Karl when he tells us that this is the best his Nuggets have played all year. This team worked so, so hard defensively; it covered angles, played physically, closed out expertly, and the Magic just couldn't deal, man.