When Hedo Turkoglu sunk the season-saving 3-pointer with a second left, there were no cheers or screams between my coworkers and I. Not even a high-five. Just silent shock. We couldn’t believe it. The man we had been cursing for three games (What are you doing?! What kind of shot is that?!) just put the team on his shoulders and sunk the biggest shot of the Magic’s season.
In fact, the cursing had continued all the way up until the ball went through the net (Give the ball to Dwight! No, don’t shoot from there!). And so, after the ball went through the cylinder, there was nothing but silence. Disbelief. Confusion. And ultimately, relief.
On the back of Hedo Turkoglu, the Magic regained control of this series.
The stat line for Turkoglu wasn’t bad: 17 points, 8-of-11 shooting. But Magic fans have so little patience with Turkoglu, the smallest miscue has everyone turning against him. After each of his four turnovers, people were calling for Mickael Pietrus. There were sighs when Turkoglu missed his only free-throw attempt.
He played well, though. It’s hard to give the goofy guy a break, but we need to. He was a major factor in this victory, and his defense on Andre Iguodala was the best he’s played all series. As a team, the Magic played their best half-court defense of the series. The Sixers were stagnant in the half-court, unable to produce much because Orlando’s perimeter defenders were able to stay in front of their men.
The transition defense was a different story, though. The Sixers were able to overcome a double-digit fourth-quarter lead (again) because they were able to turn defensive rebounds into quick buckets. Andre Miller put in several lay-ups off these types of plays. Even when Rafer Alston gets back, he provides little resistance to stop anyone; he kind of just stands there.
Despite all but abandoning the offensive glass – the Magic had zero offensive rebounds through three quarters – the Sixers accumulated 21 fast-break points. Not good.
The good news is that the Magic really didn’t play well for the fourth consecutive game, yet they were able to get a victory. The Magic shot 30 percent from the 3-point line, and Dwight Howard came back to reality by missing half his free throws. The bench contributed four points – yes, four points – and made only 2 of 10 shots.
Despite all that, Hedo Turkoglu was able to save the day. Hopefully the Magic can use tonight’s win as a confidence builder and come out hard for game 5.
Magic’s best: Yeah, he had zero assists and a team-worst +/- ratio of -6, but Turkoglu hit the game-winner and is tonight’s hero.
Magic’s worst: How about the bench? They contributed very little on the offensive end, and Tony Battie didn’t even see the floor.
Up next: The Magic will look to take the series lead in game 5, which is on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. As always, Woody and I will be there with pre-game and post-game coverage.