Magic 1-4 in January vs. Teams Above .500

by Jeff Fogle 29. January 2011 01:08

Orlando dropped its fourth straight game to a winning team Friday Night in a 99-90 loss at Chicago. The Magic are 1-4 in January vs. teams currently over .500, with the only win coming over Dallas back when Dirk Nowitzki was sidelined with an injury.

It's not quite as bad as it sounds, because all five of those games were played on the road. Plus, three of the four were close losses. Still, Orlando is probably going to have to win on the road come playoff time. They are currently tied for the fourth seed in the East with Atlanta.

Here are the scores:

Orlando 117, Dallas 107
New Orleans 92, Orlando 89
Oklahoma City 125, Orlando 124
Boston 109, Orlando 106
Chicago 99, Orlando 90

A few things jump out from the boxscores within this set of games...

*Hedo Turkoglu's shot disappears when he's needed most.

2-10 from the floor at New Orleans
2-9 from the floor at Oklahoma City
4-11 from the floor at Boston
2-12 from the floor at Chicago

I mentioned the other day that Orlando had been showing an 18-1 tendency to win when Hedo scores three or more baskets from the field, but to lose when he makes 2 or less. That's now a 20-1 tendency after a win in Indiana, but the loss to Chicago. Turkoglu did contribute from the field in the victory over shorthanded Dallas. In the last four Orlando games vs. winning teams, he's 10-42 from the field.

*Inside defense is surprisingly absent.

Dallas 29 of 50 on 2-pointers (58%)
New Orleans 33 of 69 on 2-pointers (48%)
Oklahoma City 37 of 64 on 2-pointers (58%)
Boston 39 of 60 on 2-pointers (65%)

Orlando did okay vs. Chicago tonight inside the arc, helped possibly by Derrick Rose shooting poorly (6 of 21) with stomach ulcers. Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Boston were near 60% in composite inside, even with Dwight Howard on duty.

*Orlando isn't guarding the arc consistently.

Dallas 12 of 26 on treys (46.2%, or 69.3% adjusted)
Oklahoma City 7 of 14 on treys (50%, or 75% adjusted)
Chicago 8 of 18 on treys (44.4%, or 66.7% adjusted)

Three of five winning opponents did legimate damage from long range.

The "Orlando model" we discussed aways back involves winning the three-point battle, and then shutting down opponents who come inside to challenge Howard. That works great against lesser teams. Orlando is 8-1 in January against opponents who currently have a losing record. It's not currently working in road games against top quality opposition

February will bring some chances to impress at home vs. playoff teams:

3rd vs. Miami
11th vs. New Orleans
13th vs. LA Lakers
25th vs. Oklahoma City

Orlando also has a trip to Boston on the sixth that will give them a chance to avenge their prior road loss to the Celtics.

Transition Points

*Orlando/Chicago was one of two Superleague games tonight. Chicago is now 8-9 for the year within the 13-team subset we've isolated for closer inspection. That's second best in the East. Orlando falls to 7-12. Atlanta beat New York in the other one. Atlanta is now 6-10, New York 7-12.

*Toronto may be the next to go on the list of "teams who've stopped playing defense." Within their last four games heading into tonight, they had posted defensive efficiencies of 125.8 (Orlando), 126.3 (Miami), and 116.3 (Philadelphia). Tonight the Raptors let Andrew Bogut go 12 of 14 from the field. We documented yesterday how poorly Bogut had been shooting recently. The starting front line for Milwaukee was 31-45 from the field in the Bucks 116-110 overtime win.

Toronto has lost 10 straight, and is 5-23 it's last 28 games.

*Washington is trying as hard as they can to get their first road victory. They fell to 0-20 tonight with a double overtime loss at Oklahoma City. They do have some company on the list of bad road teams:

Washington 0-20
Minnesota 2-22
New Jersey 3-22
Cleveland 3-23
Detroit 5-20
LA Clippers 3-15

Sacramento was 4-16 heading into their late Friday game with the Lakers. They actually enjoy a third quarter lead as I type this. If you're reading Saturday or later, you'll know whether the Kings moved to 5-16, or dropped to 4-17.

Back Monday night to start a new week, and hopefully to crunch some interesting numbers from the Miami-Oklahoma City and Boston-LA Lakers national TV games Sunday that I'm sure you'll be watching...

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