Magic Miss Opportunities as Warriors Barrage Them


The Magic trailed by three late in overtime when Vladimir Radmanovic fouled Jason Richardson. This crazy game had already seen Golden State erase a 21-point deficit and the two teams combine for an NBA record 35 3-pointers. Hedo Turkoglu needed to drain a 3-pointer with 8.6 seconds left just to force the game into overtime.

So of course this game would end with Richardson and a chance to tie the game with three free throws. And of course, keeping with the theme of this crazy evening, Richardson missed two of the three free throws. And of course, seeing how insane this game turned out to be, Jameer Nelson stole the ball off the inbounds following a timeout, went streaking to the hole and layed the ball up and in to apparently tie the game. Except for the offensive foul he was called for.

And of course, Golden State would not close the game out — the team is well below .500 — and give Orlando one last chance to win. Turkoglu missed a 3-pointer. Richardson missed a 3-pointer. And then Quentin Richardson missed a put back that would have made it a one-point game with too little time remaining. The Warriors survived one of the craziest offensive games the NBA has seen this year with a 123-120 overtime win over the Magic at Oracle Arena on Friday.

As you can see just from the final sequences of this game, the Magic had plenty of opportunities to win this game. Plenty.

Orlando got off to a great start and shot 49 percent in the first half to take as much as a 21-point lead. It sure looked like the Magic would run and hide in this one. But the Warriors, a team that is never going to quit offensively and, like the Magic, have an offense that can put up points in a hurry thanks to great spacing and 3-point shooting. They quickly cut the lead to 14 by the half and the 3-point barrage was on.

Golden State hit a franchise record 21 3-pointers, draining them from everywhere on the floor — whether they were contested or not. The Warriors made an astounding 60 percent of their 3-point attempts, showing how good this team can really be when their shots are falling.

The Magic were not particularly disciplined defensively, often crashing to the paint to stop penetration and leaving open the 3-pointers. Golden State made Orlando pay for that strategy. Although there may not have been much the Magic could do with David Lee doing a good job drawing Howard away from the paint, forcing Orlando to make some over rotations.

Golden State is a great offensive team and it will make shots if you give it just a little bit of daylight.

The Warriors had plenty of that, getting things rolling and really controlling the pace from the end of the second quarter onward. Stan Van Gundy pointed to the end of the second quarter as the point when the game changed as the Warriors cut the 21-point lead down to 14. Orlando had 10 turnovers in the first half and eight more in the second.

The Magic finished with 18 for the game and a 17.8 percent turnover rate for the game. Again, this appeared to be a problem. Matt Guokas even said at the half, Orlando should have been up 30 by that point.

Golden State likes to play an up-tempo style and plays at the fastest pace in the league. It is very easy to get drawn into that hectic pace.

Orlando built its lead by getting the ball into Dwight Howard and working through the offense. Safe to say that was not happening for most of the second half as the Magic had to match the Warriors’ offensive onslaught. And for the most part they could. It is not like Golden State hit every three and Orlando rolled over. The Magic answered just about every Golden State attack and simply could not get enough stops at the end since the Magic don’t play at such a hectic pace.

The Magic shot 15 of 32 from long range and even did a good job getting to the line, going 25 for 35 from the line. Hedo Turkoglu led the way offensively with 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting and four 3-pointers. Jason Richardson scored 30 points on 10-for-18 shooting and seven 3-pointers. Jameer Nelson had 24 and Dwight Howard scored 13 points to go with 21 rebounds, but he had only nine field goal attempts — a sign of how the hectic pace kept the Magic from pounding the ball inside.

Monta Ellis scored 39 while playing the entire game and Dorrell Wright scored 17 of his 32 in the tell-tale third quarter. Ellis made seven 3-pointers and Wright had eight.

You can see what kind of night it was. The Magic got completely wrapped up into it and failed to stick to their game. Lee did a good job pushign Howard off his spot and battling him down low. But the Magic are not winning many games against undersized teams like the Warriors when Howard has a 15.0 percent usage rate (according to the Advanced Stats Calculator).

The opportunity for a win was there. Orlando had the lead early and control of the game. Then the Magic let the Warriors play their game almost uninterrupted and could not slow the game back down. That spells the recipe for a loss, no matter how you cut it.