Tag:Hedo Turkoglu
Posted on: March 29, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: March 29, 2011 12:51 am
 

Magic defense wilts against Melo assault

The Magic fail to bring the defense agains the Knicks and wind up 18-19 against playoff teams this season. 
Posted by Matt Moore




The Orlando Magic are now 18-19 this season against (current) playoff teams this season after their 113-106 loss to the Knicks Monday night. Granted, the Magic were without Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick from the start and lost Chris Duhon to a jammed thumb during, but the result is the same. The Magic already won the season series with the Knicks, but now, just when they're trying to get momentum headed into the playoffs, they surrender this loss. 

There will be talk of Dwight Howard's phantom sixth foul, of Carmelo Anthony initiating a trip of Jason Richardson that was responded with a trip on Melo by J-Rich that was the only one called. There will be talk of the injuries and a lot of random buckets that fell, but in the end, it was the Magic's usually stout defense that failed to get the job done. 

Knicks edge Magic
The biggest red flag is Carmelo Anthony's superb performance. It's one thing to allow Carmelo Anthony 39 points. It's another to allow it on 26 shots and giving 17 free throws. Some shots, like the late-game pull-up buzzer beater in which Hedo Turkoglu was doing everything but throwing a steel net Melo, you just have to live with. But too often the Magic did a poor job of denying the entry pass, brought the double too late and at bad angles. Throw in the result of having to bring pre-emptive doubles and at times, triples, at Anthony, which were open floaters and threes for Toney Douglas, and you've got an overtime loss. 

The Knicks' defensive effort really focused around turnovers. They turned over the Magic on 21% of their possessions, and held them to 43% shooting. For the Knicks, that's a Celtics-like performance. In particular, the Knicks' perimeter defense stepped up, a big reason why Chauncey Billups was +4 for the game. Keeping the perimeter attack in check, with good rotations, communications, and contests? Basically the Knicks did everything they haven't done in their woeful recent performances. Whether it was just an off night for the Magic, or as Jason Richardson said post-game, the Knicks were "starved" for a win, it's a game to build on for New York. 

This was a must-win for the Knicks, and a game where the Magic just wanted to get through as they try and get healthy. But with the Magic taking 32 3-pointers, hitting just 11, it's a sign that this team isn't close to the roster make-up, nor the momentum of the '09 team. There's a five game gap between Orlando and Atlanta.

The difference feels much closer. 
Posted on: February 7, 2011 12:24 pm
 

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

Dwight Howard has started making a list of cities to bolt to even as he says he wants to win a championship in Orlando. But doesn't some of that burden fall on him?
Posted by Matt Moore

The worst part of all this is that Dwight Howard won't come out and say it. He's pulling the whole routine. From saying how much he loves the fans, to saying he "just" wants to win a championship, to leaking to the press through people close to him that he wants to go to a big market, he's following the plan, the blueprint, the design.

The LeBron James "Set Up Your Escape" plan. Copyright 2010. 

From Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: 

Howard evidently is willing to be patient. A free agent in 2012 along with the Hornets' Chris Paul, Howard has yet to form a strong opinion one way or the other, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking. Stay or go? To paraphrase LeBron, what should he do? If he does leave, Howard has his eyes on two teams -- the Lakers and Knicks -- as the big-market destinations where he'll chase down his championships and marketing opportunities if things don't work out in the Sunshine State. The Nets, who are supposed to be in Brooklyn by then, also are in the mix, the person said.
via Magic's troubling questions surround futures of Howard, Arenas - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball.


You've seen this before, right? With Shaquille O'Neal, obviously, in the same city, leaving for one of those cities on Howard's list, then winning championships while yet another small market team is made out to be the farm system. (But really, revenue sharing and parity isn't a problem in this league!) You've seen this before with LeBron James, never saying he was going to leave, saying he loved the fans, and that he just wants to win a championship. 

And that's the big one, right there. Because somewhere along the way, that's become our excuse. It predates even Kevin Garnett, but he's the most recent example. Any sort of franchise-crippling behavior and hostage-holding endeavors are excused in the pursuit of "winning a championship." The problem? This talk of winning a title always seems to come without any responsibility for the player. It's always about the GM, the coach, the organization doing more for the free-agent-to-be. 

Dwight Howard's not saying, "I want to win a championship, so I'm going to stop leaving 4.8 points per game on the floor with my free-throw shooting." He's not saying, "I want to win a championship, so I'm going to work on my footwork beyond a three-day session with Hakeem Olajuwon and become a truly dominant offensive center." He's not saying, "I want a championship, so I'm going to lead my guys to one." Instead he's laughing, making commercials, ratcheting up technical fouls as he spirals towards a suspension, and setting up the blame to be elsewhere. 

We're supposed to believe that if the Magic fail to win a title, it's due to a lack of endeavor or ingenuity on Otis Smith's part. But what has Smith done in Orlando? He's provided Howard with a crack stretch four with perimeter range and a versatile combo-forward who could run the pick and roll. When those options overstayed their usefulness, he jettisoned them, with no regard for their contribution to the franchise, because he was doing everything in his power to secure a championship-caliber team for Howard. He brought in Vince Carter, former All-Star. He helped develop Jameer Nelson as a sub-All-Star caliber point guard. He brought in Brandon Bass for a true power forward. He found a steal in young Ryan Anderson. He flipped Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis for a range of talent, including the player Howard had found the most success in the pick and roll with, Hedo Turkoglu, and a top perimeter player in Jason Richardson. Gilbert Arenas was icing on the cake, for crying out loud. 

And we're supposed to believe that Orlando hasn't done enough? Sure Howard had a dominant first half. But then he vanished against the Celtics. The Magic keep trying to find different perimeter concoctions to overtake the Celtics, but in reality? The best way to beat the Celtics is to bash their head in with the most powerful center in the game.  The same center who still, even in an MVP-worthy season, has trouble establishing position, and often follows the same footwork time and time again, leading to blocks, turnovers, and frustration. Howard never adapts to how the Celtics defend him, instead he wonders why the rest of the Magic can't hit a shot. 

This isn't to say Howard isn't an elite player. He is, by any possible measure. He's having an MVP-type season. But he's already starting to formulate an escape plan to get him out of Orlando without sacrificing his public image. He's making the failures out to be everyone's but his own. He'll wind up in a big market that can lure top free agents or trade prospects and he'll simply overwhelm others with talent, as we've seen the Lakers and Celtics do over the past four seasons.  And then he'll be lauded as the greatest, even if he doesn't improve a bit. 

If Howard wants to play in a bigger market to expand his commercial potential, fine. He's a businessman, he's got to take care of his own. If he wants to play somewhere he'll amazingly get more attention than he already does, have bigger parties, or more celebrity opportunities, that's his right. As a free agent, you get to decide where you work. But don't pretend that everything is done in the pursuit of a championship. A championship is more than just an overwhelming amount of talent. It's about sacrifice, devotion, and a commitment to being the absolute best part of your team you can be. 

If Dwight Howard really wants to win a championship, if he truly wants to be great, he needs to take responsibility for that endeavor, and not hold a franchise hostage, forced into panic over the prospect of losing him. 

But then, that's no longer the model.
Posted on: January 25, 2011 4:50 am
 

Game Changer 1.25.11:

Detroit takes a perimeter attack, CP3 overwhelms with help, and Ruy Gay saves the day, all in today's Game Changer. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  

THE BIG ONE: Detroit wings it to victory



You know? If the Pistons can get past their coach screwing with their rotations, their chemistry, and their play, and somehow manage to rely on the talent they have on this roster? This team ain't bad.  Austin Daye was the real hero here, and the youngster is proving that he's a big part of the Pistions' future. 20 points on 5-9 shooting, including 4-4 from the arc and 7 rebounds for Daye. Tayshaun Prince started at small forward, and added 20 points of his own, along with 6 assists, and Tracy McGrady had 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. That's right. The Pistons got 60 points from three small forwards in this game. Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, and Quentin Richardson combined for 15 points. When you lose a position battle by 45? Dwight Howard's 7 offensive boards aren't going to help much.

The Magic had five players out of their nine-man rotation with at least two turnovers, while the Pistons had just two out of their ten-man. Throw in some hot shooting from outside and the Pistons brought the Heat. Big win for the Pistons who continue to have one of the oddest seasons in memory. And guess what?

At 17-28, they're a game and a half back of the playoffs. Weird. 

THE N'ORLEANS HOMEFRONT: Victory through swarm



Trevor Ariza got busy. Ariza swarmed Kevin Durant down the stretch and it was one terrible shot after another, only this time he wasn't hitting any miracles. The Hornets threw multiple waves of pressure to keep the ball out of Russell Westbrook's hand after he had torched the Hornets time after time in this game, and in the end, it was David West's off-balance pivot jumper that won it for New Orleans. 

The Hornets at once seemed completely out-manned in this one and certifiably in control. Basically, whenever David West, Emeka Okafor, or Chris Paul got involved, they looked like the better squad, and when anyone else got involved it was not so much the case. Marcus Thornton was nice, if you think 10 points on 12 shots is nice, but in reality, none of the Hornets outside the Big 3 mattered much. What was relevant was a long stretch in the second and third quarter when Scott Brooks gave Eric Maynor the reins and watched as Chris Paul sliced him into roast beef. Maynor was simply not in a position to defend the MVP candidate, and it showed. 

A key play down the stretch saw Chris Paul steal the inbounds with the game tied, then come crashing down to the floor holding his ankle. Paul would walk it off, though. David West continues his reliable play and you have to think he and Okafor will determine how far this team goes in the playoffs. Okafor was at times brilliant, and at times extremely vulnerable as the Thunder crashed the glass time after time.  The Thunder held an 8% advantage in percentage of available offensive boards collected. 

Jeff Green had 19 points and wreaked havoc on the Hornets but had no shots in the final 3:16. 


GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:



Kevin Love: 24 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists

Runner-Up:  Tyreke Evans: 26 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists

HERO OF THE DAY: RG doin' work








Posted on: January 17, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2011 12:01 am
 

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

Celtics' Big 3 take over down the stretch, as the Celtics regain the upper hand. Question is, is there a respect gap between Boston and Orlando?
Posted by Matt Moore




Welcome back, Kevin Garnett. And welcome back, playoff atmosphere, TD Northbank Garden. And welcome back, Celtics closing out big games. After the Celtcs blew a sizeable lead on Christmas to the Magic, they turned the tables on Orlando Monday night, with Kevin Garnett at the center of it all. Garnett snatched a huge steal to seize the game, throwing the outlet to Ray Allen who managed to run off several seconds before being fouled with the C's up 3. Celtics defeat Magic, 109-106 .

But Garnett's play was so much more than that in his return. And it was more than the 19 points and 8 rebounds he put in on the stat sheet. The defensive energy picked up as Garnett started barking orders, and the Big 3 looked very much like the components who ripped through the Eastern Conference last year with Rondo also doing his part. But it was the Big 3 who sealed this. Pierce with a combination of his patented pump-fake to draw the foul and his patented corner jumper set the Celtics up for their three-point advantage, but it was Ray Allen constantly nailing tough jumpers off multiple screens which allowed the Celtics to match Orlando three-for-three. Then Garnett with the steal, and that's your game. 

So the question you're left with, after all the history between these two teams, and with the season series knotted at 1-1 is this: Does Boston respect Orlando? And the feeling you get is no. Not at all. Not even now. 

Kevin Garnett was his usual bullying, screaming, spitting self, and at one point he and Dwight Howard had a staredown of sorts which epitomized the two players. Garnett mouthing and snapping like a guard dog, staring down Howard. Howard laughing and confused at what Garnett was doing. In the end, Howard walked away, which you'd criticize him for, if it weren't for his technical foul situation and the need for him to stay in the game. But it was very much a study in contrast of personality, if not character. Garnett not only refuses to back down to anyone, but constantly chests into everyone. He'll start a confrontation with anyone (the question of him ending said conflicts is another, more complicated issue that involves a lot of "hands up, walk away" behavior).  Howard on the other hand, is smiling, pleasant, still the laughing man-child, even as his status as a franchise leader requires more out of him. And perhaps for that, along with the equally complicated issue of how the officials treat both teams, Boston continues to appear to take Orlando as a second-rate squad.

For all the success, Orlando's had, Boston holds this attitude still. After the Magic were eliminated from the Finals in 2009, Paul Pierce referred to the Magic as "poodles." This after Orlando had eliminated the Celtics in seven games without the services of Kevin Garnett, which allowed both the teams and the fans to dismiss the win entirely. This despite the Magic also having considerable regular season success against the Celtics as well, and eliminating the Celtics on their home floor in a Game 7. But the fact they needed seven games spoke loudly to many. That attitude was furthered when Boston easily dispatched Orlando in the 2010 playoffs. So the two have quite a bit of history, even with all the changes to both teams, and yet there is still an attitude gap with Boston. 

But that could be more about the Celtics in general than the Magic specifically. There's a begrudging respect for the Lakers after being defeated by them last spring. But the Celtics rely on their brash, overtly physical, cocky attitude to take over games mentally. To surrender that attitude with any measure of respect would decrease their edge. 

So what will it take for Orlando to win Boston's respect? No amount of regular season wins, or close losses, will do it. They have to topple them in the playoffs, with the Celtics at full-strength. And with Kendrick Perkins close to returning, Delonte West back soon after that, and the C's still capable of that extra gear that blasted them through the entire East last year, it's hard to see Orlando hitting that gear. Respect has to be earned, and the Magic need so much to go right in order for them to do just that. 

Some final game notes: 
  • Bizarre game for Jason Richardson. Started off terribly, forcing shots and looking lost in his role. Then he started to step into shots in the second half, and looked on his way to a solid game. Then he was put on Ray Allen for a long stretch in the fourth instead of J.J. Redick (who may be the best Ray Allen defender in the league), and Allen just destroyed him. He had no idea how to handle him or the multitude of screens the Celtics routinely send Allen off.
  • That Allen wound up 8-11 shows you how good he is. J.J. Redick was right with him on every attempt when he was on the floor, but Allen adjusted, even hitting shots off the dribble.
  • Ryan Anderson was the story in the first half for the Magic, but the Celtics adjusted rapidly in the second half, allowing Davis to extend further than his usual range to guard him on the perimeter. Then, when Anderson attempted to dribble around Davis and his round mound, help was constantly there, either from the corner or the elbow. Just enough to take a not-great-dribbler off his dribble and end the possession. Great adjustment by Doc Rivers.
  • Shaquille O'Neal is getting so much credit from people for his play. And while the offensive work with Rondo is nice (who can't score with Rondo helping you?), O'Neal had as many turnovers as rebounds Monday night. Two.
  • Dwight Howard was great on offense (33 points) and did his work on the glass (13). But zero blocks for the reigning defensive player of the year and he was missed inside on several possessions. Howard seemed to A. want to avoid early fouls and B. want to extend too much to attack the Celtics at the point of paint penetration, instead of managing the rim defense.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 9:21 am
 

Shootaround 1.10.11: Melo Melo Melo

Posted by Royce Young
  • Carmelo Anthony scored a season-low eight points and was booed by his home fans Sunday. Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post: "Carmelo Anthony strolled into the Pepsi Center about an hour and 15 minutes before the game that could turn out to be his last -- or very close to his last -- in a Nuggets uniform. And there seemed to be a component of 'senioritis' to his game on a snowy Sunday night against New Orleans. On the bench, he was carefree. He bobbed his head to the music over the loudspeakers, and frolicked through a first half that was generally bad for his team. And on the court, the man who makes his living putting up shots and scoring in bunches took just two shots in the first half. The Nuggets lost this game 96-87 in front of 16,283 fans. But more than a game, for the first time it appeared the Nuggets lost the interest of their star as well. And when that became the perception, many in the crowd turned on the player, who they felt was thumbing his nose at them. Anthony was booed loudly in the fourth quarter when he entered the game on a substitution."
  • Did you know LeBron had a big game last night? Jason Quick of The Oregonian: "Blame it on Nike. Blame it on the Trail Blazers' defense. Or just blame it on greatness. For whatever reason, whenever LeBron James steps into the Rose Garden, he suddenly adds shooting prowess to his already vast array of talents. James, whose status as the world's greatest basketball player is debated perhaps only because of his suspect outside shooting, put on yet another shooting display at the Rose Garden on Sunday, scoring 44 points in leading Miami to a come-from-behind 107-100 overtime victory over the stunned Blazers. It was all part of the Blazers' game plan: Go under screens and prevent James from penetrating, in a sense daring James to shoot. And shoot he did, making 17 of 26, including 3 of 5 from three-point range, one starting the Heat's comeback from a 91-84 deficit with 1:39 left, and the final two in overtime, piercing daggers to a Blazers team that thought it had its ninth consecutive home win wrapped up in regulation."
  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "That was the drabbest the Suns' locker room has been after a victory in some time. Appropriately, nobody was giddy about getting the first win of 2011 against Cleveland at home. There was not much of a good feeling about having to scrap to hand the NBA's worst team its 16th consecutive road loss."
Posted on: January 7, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Steve Nash sounds confident Suns won't trade him

Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash has found his name in trade rumors, but he sounds confident that he won't be moved. steve-nash Posted by Ben Golliver.

While Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash has traded shoe companies, he sounds pretty confident that he won't be switching NBA teams prior to this year's trade deadline.

Earlier this week, we noted a report that said the Suns were "on the fence" about rebuilding, and a full-scale rebuild would involve moving Nash, who is earning $10.3 million this season and $11.7 next season. That number will make him the team's highest paid player in 2011-2012, assuming the Suns buy out the last year of Vince Carter's partially guaranteed contract as expected.

Asked by the Arizona Republic about the trade talk this week, Nash makes it sound like he's not going anywhere, and he cites conversations with Phoenix's GM, Lon Babby, as the reason.  
"He (Babby) told me a month ago when it first sprung up that he had no plans to move me," Nash said.
"I signed up for this," Nash said. "I'm committed to trying to build a team here. Obviously, last year was a phenomenal year. Tied 2-2 (in the conference finals), I thought we could win a championship. I genuinely believed we could and would win it. It's tough to be in this position six months later. I'm still committed to it. I love the guys. I think we've got potential but we've had so much change and haven't been able to put it together. If we want to point fingers, we've got to point some at ourselves and say, 'We haven't put it together.'
"I'm still happy."
Nash says he is still happy, but his on-court body language has often hinted to the contrary. That's no surprise: this season has been a huge letdown for the Suns and their fans, following last year's deep playoff run.

If Nash isn't on the block, though, Babby's hands are tied a lot tighter when it comes to possible trades. He already shipped out one summer acquisition -- forward Hedo Turkoglu -- and two others -- Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick -- haven't exactly worked out. What the market is for those two players is unclear, though, and it's doubtful that Phoenix has any other pieces that they would be willing to part with that anyone else would want.   

Still, Nash's words are surely comforting to the Phoenix faithful who, by and large, would prefer that he stays rather than goes. If it boils down to a choice between struggling with Nash and struggling without Nash, that's not a very difficult decision for Suns management and fans.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 10:15 am
 

Suns 'on the fence' about trading Steve Nash?

The struggling Phoenix Suns are weighing whether or not to rebuild, which could mean trading franchise point guard Steve Nashsteve-nash Posted by Ben Golliver.

Things are heading south more rapidly than expected in Phoenix, as the Suns have slipped out of the race for the Western Conference's final playoff spot, at least for the time being. 

While Suns management was smart to dump Hedo Turkoglu in a December trade that netted them a solid center, Marcin Gortat, it came at the expense of a valued locker room presence, Jason Richardson. The move almost immediately set off speculation about what it meant for aging franchise point guard Steve Nash, who was close to Richardson and who has reached the point in his career where he doesn't have time for a rebuilding effort. 

NBA Fanhouse reports that the Suns are weighing the benefits of trading Nash, who clearly still has significant value around the league and has a reasonable salary ($10.3 million this year, $11.6 million next year) that ends after the 2011-2012 season.
While the 14-18 Suns made it clear recently that their six-player trade with Orlando was not a precursor to moving Nash, the option is being considered and they are, according to the source, "on the fence" about which direction to go. The next month will be key in the decision-making process, as there is a mixture of belief and hope that the additions of Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat can fortify the defense and help turn the season around in time for a playoff push.
The site also mentions the New York Knicks, with Nash's former head coach Mike D'Antoni and former pick-and-roll partner Amar'e Stoudemire, as one possible trade partner.
There's not much mystery when it comes to the sort of teams that are closely monitoring the Nash situation, as any competitive club without a Hall of Fame-caliber point guard would stand to improve significantly by bringing him aboard. And the New York Knicks, according to a source with knowledge of their thinking, are most certainly still among that group.
Of course, these rumors have come up before, and have been shot down repeatedly

What's different this time? Maybe nothing, but Phoenix is more desperate and directionless than it has been in years, so conversations about the future are totally understandable. 

Nash's popularity and box-office appeal make trading him difficult, and you'd expect that Phoenix would demand a premium in return for parting with their team's centerpiece. For that reason, it's difficult to see Nash being moved prior to the trade deadline, unless things totally fall apart in the desert.

For his part, Nash has expressed frustration throughout the early months of this season, but he's remained a loyal soldier, never requesting a trade or even floating a desire to head elsewhere. For that, he's a better man than many NBA players, but he may wind up paying for his loyalty with more frustration.
Posted on: December 27, 2010 8:27 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:52 pm
 

Gilbert Arenas hits buzzer beater off shot clock

Orlando Magic guard Gilbert Arenas hit a three-quarter court buzzer beater off the rim, off the shot clock and in to beat the halftime buzzer, but it didn't count. Posted by Ben Golliver

Roughly one week after joining the Orlando Magic via trade from the Washington Wizards, guard Gilbert Arenas likely just hit the team's shot of the year. Given the fluky circumstances and the degree of difficulty, Arenas's halftime buzzer beater against the New Jersey Nets on Monday night could be the NBA's shot of the year, but unfortunately it didn't count. The Magic inbounded the ball to Arenas with roughly one second left on the clock, and Arenas, standing roughly 80 feet from the hoop, flipped a shot with both hands from his waist.  The halftime buzzer sounded as the ball was in the air, and his attempt clanked off the front rim and bounced high in the air, its momentum carrying it towards the shot clock. The ball then bounced once cleanly off the shot clock, and dropped through the basket, causing the net to swish perfectly. The crowd reacted in awe, and Arenas and his Magic team celebrated, but it was all for naught. The game officials correctly ruled that the ball was out of bounds as soon as it hit the shot clock. This nullified the three-point basket and, since the buzzer had already sounded, ended the half. Arenas and teammate Hedo Turkoglu protested the call briefly, but Magic coach Stan Van Gundy intervened, shooing his players into the visitor's locker room. Here's the video of the remarkable shot.


Arenas' heave was straight out of the famous McDonalds commercial from the 1990s starring Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.  
 
 
 
 
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