The Magic lost to the Hawks last night after Carlos Arroyo threw an errant pass in the direction of Atlanta guard Acie Law, who took the ball to the house to break a 90-all tie. On the Magic's ensuing possession, Arroyo missed one of his two free throws, putting the Magic behind by one and effectively ending the game. Naturally, Arroyo is the goat here.
Or is he?
Last-minute mental flatulence aside, Carlos had a pretty good game last night. He was a difference-maker early in the game: the Magic trailed 17-13 when he entered late in the first quarter, and lead 29-25 when he left midway through the second. His play disintegrated in the second half, but I attribute that to his playing with the second unit. I posted this in my game recap last night, but it bears repeating: with the game on the line and with under 4 minutes to play, Arroyo was on the floor with Trevor Ariza, Torrell Martin, Marcin Gortat, and James Augustine. Carlos is the only player of that group who is capable of creating his own shot; in other words, he was being unfairly relied upon to carry the team, which won't happen in the regular season because he'll be on the floor with better teammates. Hill2Howard at , who attended the game, pointed out that Arroyo was trying to get out and run on the fast break, but had to slow down because no other Magic player could keep up:
They looked confused when running the plays and about 4 different times on the break arroyo had to actually slow down b/c nobody was running with him. Stan WAS PISSED!!!!
Adamosthegreek, who also attended the game, assessed Carlos' performance differently:
ARROYO CHOKED THE GAME AWAY IN THE LAST 2 MINUTES (As the video will show). Still, Stan wasn't too concerned about the last few minutes of the game as he stuck with a lineup of Arroyo, Ariza, Torrell Martin, Gortat, and Augustine. [. . . .] Can't feel too bad about the loss as I blame Carlos (held on to the ball too much throughout the game again; at least he had some nifty assists).
The video of which he
spoke typed is Adamos' own footage of the last minute of the game, which also features much Arroyo-bashing from the peanut gallery.
Okay, so Carlos held onto the ball too long at the end. As WDBO's Dante Marchitelli pointed out on the live broadcast, Carlos was actually supposed to hold onto the ball and create his own shot, which is exactly what he did. I can't fault him for that.
That said, all of this talk of Carlos choking late in the game may be irrelevant, because Jameer Nelson, the prohibitive favorite to start at point guard this season, did a good job of running the offense last night, as his 6 assists/0 turnovers can attest. He may have shot poorly, but so did everyone else. Mike from Illinois at Orlando Magic Blog already showed that, taking away Howard's stellar shooting, the Magic were 25-of-72 or 34.7%. Taking away Adonal Foyle's good night, the Magic were even worse, at 21-for-65 (32.3%).
The point: When your wing players are missing more than two-thirds of their shots, you're going to lose, no matter who's running the point.