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Magic come from behind to defeat arch-nemesis Kings

March 10, 2011

After giving up 59 first half points to those damned Sacramento Kings, the Magic defense tightened up and allowed Orlando to come from behind and defeat the Kings 106-102.

Down by 6 in the 4th quarter, the Magic wouldn’t lead until Jason Richardson hit a three-pointer with 2:44 to go that gave the Magic a 98-97 lead and capped a 9-2 Magic run.  A Hedo Turkoglu three pointer with 40 seconds left essentially sealed the win and allowed the Magic to start their big Best Coast road trip 1-0.

Here is the word around the web:

Andrew Melnick of Howard the Dunk keyed in on the improved point guard play as the key to the victory:

Jameer Nelson took over in the fourth quarter again. He finished the game 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting. He scored 12 of those points in the fourth quarter while constantly running the high pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard. Nelson also had four assists and three steals.

Gilbert Arenas hit a couple of big shots, including a third quarter buzzer beater from well beyond the arc. Arenas had 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, dished out three assists and maybe most importantly, he did not turn the ball over. As you’ll recall, Arenas had six turnovers in Monday’s loss to Portland. He did a little better of a job of getting all the way over to the hoop and finishing as well.

After turning the ball over a combined 11 times last time out, it was important for MeerGil to come out and play better.  They both clearly did that.

Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post drew the attention more towards the Magic wing players as the key:

Indeed, it was the Magic’s wing players who keyed the offense tonight, as Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Gilbert Arenas combined for 47 points and 8 three-pointers in support of Nelson.

The wing play has been so up and down all season, it’s nice to see them all playing well together for once.  Jason Richardson play has been playing very well over the last 4 games and is starting to show some consistency (17-26 from behind the arc).  As for Hedo and Gil, the up and down play is likely to continue depending on how well Sagittarius aligns with the moons of Jupiter.

The Sacramento Bee blamed the loss for the Kings on injuries derailing the team against the Magic and Dwight Howard:

“Few would question that Orlando’s Dwight Howard is the best center in the NBA.  And the Kings weren’t going to be at full strength against him Wednesday night.  Center Samuel Dalembert, the King with the most experience defending Howard, was slowed by a sore right knee.  Rookie forward-center DeMarcus Cousins had a sore right shin that was bothering him so much that he thought he might have to sit out.”

“”Warming up, I came in and talked to coach, and I told him maybe I should have sat out of practice (Tuesday),” Cousins said. “I really went after it in practice … and I came in, and my leg was sore.”

Cousins may have been sore, but it didn’t stop him from dropping a career high 29 points on 18 free throw attempts.  As for blaming the injuries, their may be some relevance to the point, but a more likely reason for the loss is probably that Sacramento has the second worst record in the NBA and has lost 8 of 9.
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Dwight Howard was held below his season average by those pesky Kings defenders and only scored 16 points on 8 field goal attempts.  He did shoot 14 free throws though (8-14) and pulled down 15 rebounds.  Dwight also fouled out of the game after playing 40 minutes.  It was only the 3rd time this season that Dwight has fouled out.  It’s actually quite amazing that someone who has as much defensive presence/responsibility as Dwight has, is able to stay out of foul trouble as well as he has this season. It hasn’t always been that way, and the stat should be noted in his MVP campaign.
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The Magic are back in action on Friday night when they face off against Jeremy Lin and the Golden State Warriors.  Game is set for 10:30 EST and will be televised locally on Fox Sports Florida.

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