Orlando hadn’t played in a week due to the All-Star break, and the Kings caught the Magic unprepared beating Orlando 111-105. Sacramento shot 52 percent from the field, compared to 44 percent for Orlando. The Kings missed tying their season high in assists by 1, and ended with 30 including 17 in the paint. The Kings outscored the Magic in the paint 50-44, shooting 26-38 (68.4%) to Orlando’s 23-40 (57.5%). In a battle of two of the NBA's top rebounding teams, the Kings out rebounded the Magic 42-36, but Orlando won the offense boards 11-10 led by Dwight Howard who had 7. Orlando also went 8 for 28 (28.6%) from 3-point range and had 17 turnovers that led to 26 Sacramento points, but Orlando scored 28 fast break points to Sacramento’s 16.
Jermaine Taylor started his 4th game in place of Tyreke and had a career-high 21 points, Beno Udrih added 18 and Samuel Dalembert and Jason Thompson had 17 points apiece for Sacramento. Dwight Howard had 31 points and 17 rebounds for Orlando. Hedo Turkoglu added 19 and Jameer Nelson 15. DeMarcus Cousins started off defending Howard, and struggled offensively for the second straight game. The rookie went 2 for 7 from the field and finished with nine points. He ended up with 5 fouls, 4 turnovers and had one shot blocked. He also finished with 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Kings got out to a 6 point lead in the first quarter, 31-25, but Orlando came back with a 36 pt second quarter to take a 3 pt lead going into half time. Neither team seemed to be able to score in the third, which ended 23-21 with Orlando extending their lead to 5 pts. With 9:20 left the Magic led 90-83 when Omri Casspi converted a three-point play and finished an 8-0 run with another 3-pointer 45 seconds later. The teams exchanged baskets until the 3:20 mark when Dalembert made 2 baskets in a row on Beno’s 8th and 9th assists to put the King ahead for good. The Kings ended up scoring 32-point in the fourth quarter while holding Orlando to just 21. The Kings shot 53 percent for the game and 65 percent in the fourth quarter.
The Magic let the trade deadline pass without making any changes. The Magic made their roster changes back on December 18th 2010: Washington acquires Rashard Lewis from Orlando in exchange for Gilbert Arenas. Then Phoenix acquires Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat, a 2011 first round pick and cash from Orlando in exchange for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark.
After the loss to the Kings, Dwight Howard made it clear to his teammates that the loss to the Kings was unacceptable. The Magic went on to punish the Thunder 111-88 in their very next game and then went on to finish off Charlotte 100-86. They finished their home stand by defeating Carmello and the new look Knicks 116-110, and then went to Miami to beat the Heat 99-96. Back home they ran into the Bulls coached by defensive guru Tom Thibodeau. Chicago won 89-81 and held Howard to 20pts 10rebs. Orlando had one more home against Portland before heading out on a 4-game West Coast swing starting with the Kings. Howard ended up being suspended for the Portland game for picking up his 16th technical foul of the season. Portland was able to prevail 89-85, but they needed 18 turnovers by the Magic to get it done. Orlando shot 46.5% from the field and 50% from 3pt range and they out rebounded the Blazers. But with Portland getting 10 more FGA’s and 8 more FTA’s they were able to pull out the 4 pt victory.
The Magic are 40-24 and in 4th place in the Eastern Conference 7.5 games behind Boston, 5 behind Chicago and 3.5 games behind Miami. The Magic needs to catch Division leading Miami to move up out of 4th place in the East.
The starting lineup for the Magic consists of Dwight Howard at Center, Hedo Turkoglu at SF and Brandon Bass at PF. The starting backcourt has Jameer Nelson at PG and Jason Richardson at SG. Ryan Anderson, JJ Redick, Gilbert Arenas and Quintin Richardson are the main reserves.
Howard is the leading scorer averaging 23 pts/ 13.9 rebs/ 2.3 blks in 37.2 mpg. His main weakness is his FT shooting where he’s averaging 58.8% on over 11 attempts per game. J. Richardson is 2nd in scoring averaging 14pt / 4.3 rebs in 34.1 mpg and has started all 38 games since joining the team. Jason has taken 372 three point shots this season and is 87-224 for 38.8% since joining the Magic. Hedo has also started all 38 games since joining Orlando, and he too is shooting 38.8% from beyond the arc. He’s averaging 10 pts/ 5.2 asts/ and 4.4 rebs in 33.3 mpg. Nelson is the 3rd leading scorer at 12.5 pts/ 6.2 asts/ 2.9 rebs in 29.8 mpg. He too is shooting well from 3-pt range, hitting 88-228 for 38.6%. Bass isn’t a 3pt threat but is averaging 11 pts/ 5.8 rebs in 25 mpg.
Redick and Anderson are both serious 3-pt threat with each shooting 40.1% on a combined 459 attempts, and are averaging over 10ppg each. Arenas and Q. Richardson both shot below 30% from three, and below 36% from the field. Surprisingly, Orlando is only 11th in 3-pt shooting and 12th in FG%. They are dead last in FT% but 6th at getting to the FT line. They have the 6th highest turnover rate which is only slightly better than the Kings who are 5th. Orlando is 1st in Def. Reb Rate while the Kings are 2nd in Off Reb Rate.
The Kings have really deteriorated defensively since Tyreke went out for his PF treatment. For the season they have a Defensive Efficiency rating of 106.0 but in the last 10 games without Tyreke their defensive rating has ballooned to 113.6. Orlando is on a mission to overtake Miami and win the Division in an attempt to secure home court advantage in the playoffs. They will not overlook the Kings this time around and may be more focused because of the last game. The Kings cannot beat a playoff team with the turnover rate and defensive rating that they’ve had in the last 10 games. Things must change or the only chance we’ll have for a win will be in 5 games on March 16th when we play Cleveland. Good Luck Kings.