Magic Not Elite?
“Quite simply, we’re not on that level right now,” Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters following the Orlando Magic’s 97-83 loss to the Chicago Bulls Friday night.
The Bulls, who advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, made that clear when they ended the game on a 17-6 run after Orlando cut their lead down to just three halfway through the fourth quarter.
“They just played hard,” Dwight Howard explained. “Everybody knew what they had to do.”
Chicago, who was the league’s top rebounding and defensive team last season, forced the Magic to commit 18 turnovers and beat up Orlando on the glass, grabbing 46 rebounds to Orlando’s 37 (55.4%), including 14 offensive rebounds that led to 18 second chance points.
“Rebounding was a major issue and the turnovers were a major issue,” Van Gundy said.
On several occasions, the Magic defended the Bulls extremely well for a majority of the possession, but allowed the Bulls to get the rebound. Two of those offensive possessions led to Kyle Korver three-pointers, which were momentum killers for the Magic.
“The rebounding was just very, very, very disappointing,” Van Gundy added.
Clearly, the Chicago Bulls have become the standard when it comes to defense and rebounding in the league and there is a lot the Magic can learn from the Bulls.
“Guys came off the bench and they know what to do when they come in the game,” Howard told the media. “They didn’t step outside of their boundaries; they did exactly what their coaches asked them to do.”
“And we have to be the same way,” Howard added.
There are clearly some talent and age issues with the Magic but a lot of their problems come from making stupid mistakes and not giving the proper effort for an entire possession.
“It’s tough,” Jameer Nelson told reporters. “It’s not like they basically killed us in the half court defense. They killed us on the boards; they killed us in transition early on.”
Orlando’s turnover issues are nothing new – it’s a problem they’ve struggled with over the last couple of seasons. Issues like that are magnified when you take on a team as good as Chicago.
“You got to have that mentality that every possession counts,” Jason Richardson explained. “It’s not about making shots or not making shots, it’s the little things, diving for loose balls, blocking out so they don’t get offensive rebounds.”
“Those are the things that gave them the advantage and that’s why they won the game,” Richardson added.
“We did anything to win,” Derrick Rose explained. “That’s the whole mindset.”
Until the Magic take that mindset, they’re going to continue to struggle against the NBA’s elite.
Anderson Has A Chat With Howard
Ryan Anderson had his worst game of the season Friday night in Orlando’s 97-83 loss to the Chicago Bulls. Anderson scored just five points on 2-of-10 shooting, was 1-of-7 from beyond the arc and grabbed just three rebounds in just under 25 minutes of action.
“The real issue is, again, he just didn’t get in the battle tonight,” Van Gundy told reporters. “He didn’t rebound the ball, he missed some rotations defensively.”
During the middle stages of the game, Van Gundy was screaming at Anderson on the sideline and wound up going with Glen Davis down the stretch, rather than Anderson, who entered Friday night’s game as Orlando’s leading scorer.
“If you’re going to base your game on shooting and you have nights like this, there’s no way to help us,” Van Gundy added.
After the game, Anderson was visibly upset. The first thing he did once he entered the locker room was head over to Dwight Howard’s locker. The two had a lengthy conversation, lasting about 15 minutes.
Anderson wanted to apologize for his poor play, find out just what Howard, one of Orlando’s captains, expects from him and to see where Howard’s head is in general.
“I just wanted to tell him I had an off-night, but I want to come back and bring energy every night,” Anderson explained. “I want to play hard every night. It was just a little conversation.”
Anderson told reporters Howard told him he expects a lot from Anderson, which Anderson took as a compliment.
“We had a great talk,” Howard said. “That’s something that’s going to stay between me and him.”
Despite Van Gundy’s comments and his poor performance, Anderson can’t let one game get him down and his teammates don’t want that to happen.
“I have a lot of confidence in Ryan,” Howard added.
News & Notes:
- Orlando has essentially played five or six probable lottery teams (with Houston on the fringe) and two contenders in Oklahoma City and Chicago. Both teams lost in the conference finals last year and the Magic did not look ready to play with either.
- Click here to watch the 1080 Insiders video recap of Friday night’s game.
- The Magic now begin a four-game road trip. They’ll start Sunday in Sacramento when they take on the Kings. They’ll then face the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday and the Golden State Warriors Thursday in a game that will be shown nationally on TNT. The trip ends in Madison Square Garden a week from Monday when the Magic take on the New York Knicks.