What went wrong:
1. Free throws weren't free on this night- Orlando took the ball to the basket, which is certainly a good thing, and they were rewarded with trips to the free throw line. Orlando's 43 free throw attempts were fantastic, but they made good on just 29 of those attempts for just 67.4%.No time for high fives and celebration for the Magic as they travel down the New Jersey turnpike to take on the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night. The 76ers will be looking to avenge a loss to the Magic that should be fresh in their minds, and they will be very well rested as they have been off since Saturday.
2. Poor perimeter defense- The New Jersey Nets entered this game ranked 20th in the NBA in three-point shooting and made 12 of 26 attempts, for 46.2%. The Nets were playing Orlando's game, and playing it better than the visitors.
3. Bench production- Although Keyon Dooling had a fine game off the bench for Orlando (14 points, 4-6 shooting), only he and Keith Bogans were the only contributors off the bench in terms of scoring (17 points combined). Less than a dominating performance.
4. Tough night for Superman- Dwight Howard finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but he had to work for all of them thanks to the good defense by New Jersey's Josh Boone. Howard was 5-10 from the field, and just 7-15 from the free throw line, and finished with 4 turnovers. Boone finished with 12 points on 6-6 shooting with 11 rebounds of his own.
5. Lack of energy throughout the game- Not too many people are excited to be in New Jersey, but Orlando seemed to really be in the doldrums. The pace of the game was slow, which played into the Nets hands, and if New Jersey made a few more shots down the stretch, the outcome could've been different.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of MagicIllustrated.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustrated.com. Charlie is also a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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