You live by the three, you die by the three. Stop me if we’ve been here before.
Dwight Howard has owned the inside of the paint for the entire series against the Atlanta Hawks. And I mean owned. But that hasn’t equated into wins, and its high time we start taking note of exactly why.
The inconsistent defense was obvious. The poor shooting has been staring us in the face. But for the third game out of four tries, the Orlando Magic’s once uncanny ability to knock down long range shots was severly lacking. In other words, if you’re still trying to uncover some mystical reason as to why a supposedly talented and playoff-experienced team is slumping so badly, you can call off the dogs. The case has been solved.
The Orlando Magic haven’t been shooting well this series. Anyone can attest to that. Shooting under 40 percent contributed to a Game One loss, and their lack of timely offense outside of Dwight Howard led to their downfall in Game Three (while Jason Richardon’s stupidity didn’t help). But Game Four, well, took this notion to new levels.
The Magic went 2-for-23 from behind the arc. That’s 0.087 percent. Or, translation: pathetic.
Like I said; live by the three, die by the three.
Jason Richardson contributed to this loss by not being available for the game after he was suspended for slapping Zaza Paculia. But even his 26 percent shooting from beyond the arc likely wouldn’t have done any good. On this particular day, every Orlando player was off from outside. But it wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t by chance. This Magic team just isn’t the same team Orlando fans watched battle the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals a few years ago. Something intangible is missing.
Maybe the team is folding under the pressure. Maybe those “Dwight Howard to Los Angeles” rumors are taking their course. Maybe Stan Van Gundy is on his last leg as head coach. Maybe everyone on the team as a flu virus again.
That, or maybe they just are what they are. They’re a three-point shooting team that relies too much on jumpers and one scorer inside. Dwight Howard has aced this series. The rest of the Magic have simply left him hanging.
The one bright spot in this whole ugly picture, however, is that the Magic get to return home for Game Five, with another home game looming if they can force a Game Seven.
But that’s a lot to ask for from a team that’s clicking. Even moreso for a team that just flat-out isn’t showing up for games.