The Orlando Magic and their struggling offense host the road-weary Phoenix Suns tonight in a game pitting several former teammates against one another. Suns forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Grant Hill had memorable turns in a Magic uniform earlier this decade and played extensivey alongside Magic stars Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson. Magic forward Quentin Richardson spent a year running and gunning with Steve Nash in Phoenix, and Mickael Pietrus teamed with Jason Richardson on the WE BELIEVE Golden State Warriors. But those links and the teams' three-point-happy offenses are about all the two squads have in common.
Phoenix's rotation features five small forwards--Hill, Richardson, Turkoglu, Josh Childress, Jared Dudley--and just two conventional centers, which has made them vulnerable on the inside. Robin Lopez, one of those centers, is out with an injury, leaving emergency free-agent pickup Earl Barron to pick up the slack. Howard should romp inside against Channing Frye, for instance, while Turkoglu's struggled to stay out of foul trouble defending opposing power forwards, so Brandon Bass could have a solid night off Orlando's bench if Turkoglu draws that assignment.
But Phoenix has enjoyed some offensive success this year, which has driven their 6-5 start. It sure can shoot the three-ball, hitting 38.9 percent on 24.5 attempts per night, and drained 22 triples in a win over the L.A. Lakers earlier this week. Incredibly, the Lakers outscored Phoenix by 40 points in the paint and still lost by 5 points.
Orlando has to avoid letting the Suns get open three-pointers. Chase them off the line--the Miami Heat did this task expertly in a blowout win over them last night--and force their iffy ballhandlers to take uncomfortable shots off the bounce. Keeping Howard out of foul trouble is also a priority. Phoenix can neutralize the Magic's interior scoring, their greatest advantage, by attacking Howard.
Howard's impression of Turkoglu is worth your time.
|2010/2011 NBA Season|
|6-5 (3-3 road) |
|7-3 (5-2 home) |
|November 18th, 2010|
|Steve Nash||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|Jason Richardson||SG||Vince Carter|
|Grant Hill||SF||Quentin Richardson|
|Hedo Turkoglu||PF||Rashard Lewis|
|Channing Frye||C||Dwight Howard|
|2010/11 Advanced Stats|
|94.8 (12th)||Pace||93.4 (16th)|
|110.8 (5th)||ORtg||104.8 (19th)|
|111.9 (28th)||DRtg||97.2 (1st)|