The Orlando Magic defeated the New Jersey Nets rather easily, 104-88, with a dominant performance from the All-NBA performer Dwight Howard, who scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked 4 shots in the second half of the game after being in foul trouble in the first half. I asked Dwight how he managed to stay aggressive in the second half while being in foul trouble. “Just knowing when to go for blocks. Just closing up the paint, making guys take tough shots. It’s tough for me because I like going after every shot.”
The Magic made two big trades involving several all-stars that many thing will improve the team. former Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu is back, along with guard Jason Richardson and forward Earl Clark, who came from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for guard Vince Carter, center Marcin Gortat, guard Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 first-round pick and cash. In the second deal, the Magic obtained guard Gilbert Arenas from the Washington Wizards for forward Rashard Lewis.
When asked about his new team, Howard replied “it’s a lot more dangerous than it was. They fit right in. They can score the ball. They’re playmakers. We couldn’t have did a better job with the trade.” When asked why Turkoglu is more successful with the Magic, Howard gleamed “He understands that he’s going to get the ball and he’s going to have to make plays. He’s going to have the ball in his hands a lot.” When asked if it was hard to gel as a team with new players, Richardson confidently replied “No, not at all. We’re all professionals and I think everybody came into the trade as veterans with 10+ years in the league except Earl so we know how to play with each other. It’s just getting familiar, such as knowing what Jameer likes to do and what Dwight likes to do.” When asked about playing with a dominant big man, Richardson said “It’s great. He makes the job easier for me, especially on the defensive end. I know I can get out and pressure my man, knowing that if I get beat he is there.”
J.J. Redick had thoughts on his new teammates and how they are playing as well. “We are just doing simple stuff now. We’re stressing getting defensive concepts down. Obviously the defense is getting better as well.”
Former Net Ryan Anderson said “we’ve only practiced on time together. I think we’re gelling extremely well given the circumstances and all the new guys coming in. I think it shows how good we really can be. we have a ton of talent. We just need to bring everything together. We can only go through a couple of sets out there. Mostly just playing the game and getting into pick and rolls, and getting the ball to Dwight.”
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy praised Hedo Turkoglu. “He’s played well. I think that he’s playing much lighter than when he was here last time. He looks quicker to me, even though he’s older. He looks like he’s got his quickness back and is down over 10 pounds from when he was here before. I think that’s really helped him.” On the improved ball movement, Van Gundy said “Turk is a very good passer. He will see people and move the ball. Gil is a very good passer. Both guys can really see the floor. Jason Richardson is unselfish and doesn’t make many mistakes.”
Time will tell how much the trade has helped the Magic in the playoffs, which is probably why this trade was made. The more players that can singlehandedly win a playoff game, the better, and now the Magic have several.