ORLANDO — Hedo Turkoglu wanted just one more assist. He was doing everything he could to get it too.
When was the last time Turkoglu passed up an open shot? When was the last time Turkoglu yelled at teammates to take jumpers? Is this the same Hedo Turkoglu from a few years ago?
He just might be. When Turkoglu finally found JJ Redick cross-court for a 3-pointer, he extended his arms into the air in celebration. Turkoglu is back in all his frustrating and exuberant glory.
Turkoglu capped off a strange evening at Amway Center with a triple double — 10 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists — to go with his career-high five steals in a 110-90 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
“This is really huge for me,” Turkoglu said. “It was really painful, especially the last few minutes when I was telling teammates to shoot the ball and they weren’t really shooting it until the last second. JJ did. I was glad to do something good to help the team.”
Turkoglu may have exemplified exactly the type of effort Orlando needed to put in to defeat Golden State on Monday. He had only five points, four rebounds and three assists at halftime as the Magic seemed uninterested in playing with the hard-working Warriors. Then something awoke inside Turkoglu and his team as Orlando outscored Golden State 66-37 in the second half to take complete and final control.
Ball movement and energy plays that were not there in the first half appeared and everything seemed to get easier as Golden State faded away.
“I thought in the first half, I was upset with our effort and our energy,” Van Gundy said. “I thought we didn’t put much into the game and that’s why the score was what it was. And then in the second half, I thought we played very hard and with good energy and ball movement and played a great half.
“I told them after the game, that game was a simple lesson that when we play hard and we play with energy, we have a chance to be very good. And when we don’t, like every team in this league, you’re going to play poorly. You’re not just going to walk out there thinking you are good in this league. Everybody is too good. Every night you’re up against teams that can beat you and if we play like we did in the first half, we’ll get beat.”
Orlando trailed 53-44 after the first half, shooting a paltry 39.5 percent and 3 for 11 from beyond the arc. The poor offensive play, which included 10 turnovers, leaked to the defensive side where the Warriors made 47.8 percent of their shots and outrebounded the Magic 25-17.
Golden State, despite being without centers David Lee and Andris Biedrins had eight offensive rebounds and 10 second chance points. The Warriors also scored 26 points in the paint.
“We just got to play hard,” Dwight Howard said. “In the first half, we didn’t play hard. The second half, we came out with a lot more energy. We got stops, we ran. That’s the way we have to play. We can’t take halves off, we can’t take possessions off. We’ve got to play the whole game the same way. That’s what championship teams do. We just got to be consistent.”
Orlando turned the tables in the second half, starting the third quarter on an 8-0 run and quickly retaking the lead. The team was much more aggressive and was making shots. The defense certainly fed off that energy.
The Magic scored 66 points to the Warriors’ 37, shooting 59 percent from the floor and hitting 12 of 21 3-pointers. Orlando did a better job controlling the boards and the paint, limiting the Warriors to 18 points in the paint and 9-for-20 shooting in the key. Golden State’s offense sputtered to shoot 14 of 42.
“Every night we know we can’t get down in the first half,” said Jason Richardson, who scored 20 points and shot four for seven from beyond the arc. “We can’t play terrible in the first half and come on against good teams. Good teams like that, if we try to do that we are going to lose these games.”
Orlando put the clamps on and let the momentum roll to secure the victory. And Turkoglu was a big part of that. He had 10 rebounds and seven assists in the second half, taking only four shots and committing one turnover in 19 minutes in the second half.
The Magic placed eight of the nine players who entered the game in double figures, led by Turkoglu’s triple double and Dwight Howard’s 22 points and 17 rebounds. Orlando finished with some good defensive numbers, conceding 40.9 percent shooting for the entire game and forcing Golden State into 19 turnovers.
“He makes a lot of good plays,” Van Gundy said of Turkoglu. “He also makes some crazy plays. I just want to qualify that. It’s a little bit a roll of the dice. I would say the odds are pretty good.”
Tonight, Van Gundy and the Magic certainly did not crap out.