Stan Van Gundy elected to rest Dwight Howard, Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis after his team’s impressive 54-point victory over New Orleans on Sunday. Nevertheless, the Magic’s second unit continued Van Gundy’s recent preseason dominance. Not that winning streaks in the preseason matter much.
Orlando’s second unit put in a solid defensive performance to get an 86-73 win at Amway Center on Thursday. Quentin Richardson scored 15 points and Brandon Bass had 16 points and nine rebounds. Jameer Nelson was the only “definite” starter to play and he had nine points in 18 minutes.
Here are some quick thought about the game.
–Bass is starting to really show he is feeling comfortable with the team. Then again, he did that last year in the preseason, but failed to crack the rotation for most of the season. This year does seem different though. Bass has done a good job covering his rotations on defense and generally seems to have a better grasp of things.
–New acquisition Chris Duhon also appears to be getting very comfortable. He has yet to really find his scoring and shooting touch with this team yet. But he is not known as a great scorer or shooter. Duohn is known for his superior passing ability and working off the pick and roll. He followed his seven-assist performance on Sunday with six assists tonight.
–The only lights that were shot off tonight was perhaps Amway Center’s. Amway Center had some light issues tonight, proving that there are still some hiccups to go through with opening the new building. It probably did not help that more than one concert has been postponed or canceled. Not anyone’s fault. But Amway Center is still a new building.
–Back to the reference. No one could shoot tonight, as is usual when these two teams get together. Orlando was a cold 41.6 percent from the floor and 12 for 35 from beyond the arc. Without the starters in, you could expect that number to go down. And the bench players always tend to settle for jumpers. So a poor shooting percentage is a little expected. The Bobcats were not much better shooting 39.1 percent from the floor. In that sense, things were encouraging.
–Marcin Gortat had a puzzling tonight. Theoretically, tonight was his chance to shine and show he deserved a bigger role on the team. Gortat did not take advantage of the opportunity as he often has done in his career. And he admitted he was not happy with it. Gortat scored only three points on 1-for-3 shooting. Not a good effort by Gortat at all. Luckily, it does not appear this game will mean much.
–JJ Redick also struggled mightily. He scored 12 points, but shot only 3 for 10. Redick played a lot more than he normally did and probably took a bigger role in the offense than he is capable of, but you still have to expect Redick to do something with this opportunity. He has in the past.
–There is not much to take from this game, positively or negatively though. The fact the starters sat out for the most part kind of taints what fans can ascertain from this game in determining whether Orlando is ready for the games to count. Stan Van Gundy even called The Orlando Sentinel’s Brian Schmitz to apologize for sitting his starters tonight.