It looks like Dwight Howard, who has missed a few games of late with back spasms, will be back for Orlando on Friday. However, forward HedoTurkoglu will not be as lucky, as his injury will keep him out for the rest of the season. In the meantime, the team has had to make do with Glen Davis in the paint, and J.J, Redick in the starting five, a lineup which has produced back to back wins. However, Orlando's lucky streak without Howard came to an abrupt end tonight at the hands of the Washington Wizards, a team they had beaten in their last nine meetings. So who's to blame for this unexpected lost? Here are the culprits for Orlando.
The Goats for Orlando:
Glen Davis (C)
Yes, Davis has been more than credible in relief of Dwight Howard this season. In fact he has been nothing short of amazing, but tonight he could not handle the efforts of Wizard center Kevin Seraphin who torched Orlando for 24 points, while grabbing 13 rebounds and collecting 4 blocks. What's more Davis could not keep John Wall from making his way to the basket. In the end, Big Baby had a team low -10 (+/- rating), despite contributing 12 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals.
Ryan Anderson (PF)
Typically one of Orlando's most reliable scoring threats, Anderson could find the botton of the net for only 7 points in 39 minutes tonight, the results of poor shooting from beyond the arc (1 out 7). He also failed to contribute on the boards where he only grabbed 4 total rebounds. Anderson though has missed a few starts with an ankle injury, so at least he had an excuse for his poor performance.
Jason Richardson (SG)
Though his long range shots were falling last night against Detroit, Richardson struggled greatly against the Wizards, making only 4 out of 16 total shots. In fact, so bad was Richardson's shooting tonight, that after scoring on his first two shots in the first period, he promptly missed 12 out of his next 14 attempts, including two 3-pointers down the stretch when Washington pulled away from Orlando.
The Rest of the Team:
The rest of the Orlando players gave at least a decent accounting of themselves. J. J. Redick continued his fine play, collecting 15 points, 3 assists and 3 steals in 35 minutes of play. It was Redick who kept Orlando in the game early with 11 points in the first quarter. As for Jameer Nelson, he would lead all scorers with 19 points and 7 assists.
Off the bench, Quentin Richardson added 14 points in just 22 minutes, hitting on 3 out of the 5 3-pointer he attempted, while backup center Earl Clark grabbed 6 rebounds and blocked 3 shots. More impressive was the play of backup point guard Ishmael Smith, who in 16 minutes of relieving Nelson, scored 8 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and handed out 3 assists. Smith was able to penetrate well, and has certainly been a better backup point guard than Chris Duhon of late. Even lightly used Daniel Orton was able to come away with a +4 (+/- rating), and grabbed 3 rebounds in just 6 minutes of play.
About this writer: A resident of Orlando, FL, the writer has been a fan of the Orlando Magic since their inaugural season in the NBA. The writer lists Scott Skiles and Hedo Turkoglu among his all-time favorite Magic playe rs.
Source: Sun Sports Live Television Broadcast, Tuesday 4/10/2012, 7 p.m.