Magic midseason report
By DAVID STEELE
Orlando Magic Play-By-Play Announcer
Jan. 18, 2011
The Orlando Magic reached the midway point of the season Monday night with a 109-106 loss to the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics. After 41 games, the Magic own a record of 26 wins and 15 losses, the same record they had at last season's halfway point.
Last year's team won 33 games during the second half of the season, notching 59 wins for the second year in a row. Can this year's Magic team enjoy similar success over the next three months?
That remains to be seen, but there are a few things we do know about the 2010-11 Orlando Magic:
Orlando is better offensively since December 18
That's the day Otis Smith pulled off two major trades to makeover the Magic roster. New additions Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas and Earl Clark give the Magic more offensive firepower, which was the goal of the deals. Orlando's scoring has increased 8.5 points per game. The team's field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, assists and fast break points are all up considerably since the deals.
Orlando is not as dominant inside defensively since the trades
Despite the presence of Dwight Howard, the two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year and the NBA's best defender this season, the Magic have not been as effective as a team on the defensive end of the floor. The most glaring statistic is opposing teams points in the paint.
Before the trades the Magic allowed the fewest points in the paint in the NBA, 35.0 per game. In the last five games, Orlando has surrendered 42.4 points in the paint per game.
Overall, Orlando is still one of the best defensive teams in the league, but if they are going to get back to where they were defensively before the trades, they will have to allow fewer easy baskets in the paint.
Howard is better offensively than ever before
Not only is Howard still the NBA's premier defensive player, he is enjoying his best offensive year in his seventh season in the league.
Howard has more moves around the basket than ever before. He can score inside from either the right or left block with either hand. And he has added the occasional 15-foot jumper to his offensive repertoire.
Here's the catch