Scouting the Magic: Trade or not, Parker getting into the lane will be key

“We’ve been talking for a while and I told them, I want to finish this season out and give our team and give our fans some hope for the DHfuture but I feel they have to roll that dice,” said Howard. “It might be tough but I feel like we’ve got a great opportunity but they’ve got to roll it.“

Those were the words of Orlando Magic franchise center Dwight Howard after his team defeated the Miami Heat on Tuesday evening in Orlando.

The Magic are in the same predicament the Denver Nuggets were in last season. Then, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was a member of the Nuggets and had expressed his thoughts in wanting to be traded.

Anthony would be dealt to the Knicks before the trade deadline and the Nuggets avoided the fate of getting nothing for Anthony, as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors had both allowed LeBron James and Chris Bosh tp walk away into free agency, with nothing in return the summer before.

Now the Magic are at that stage, “Do we trade Howard or do we roll the dice?”

According to sources, Howard did board the plane from Orlando to San Antonio late Tuesday evening. Back to the game at hand, the San Antonio Spurs (27-13) were also mentioned in the trade rumor mill on Tuesday evening as they were rumored to be discussing a deal that would send guard Danny Green to the Utah Jazz in a three-team deal, that would land Jazz forward Josh Howard in San Antonio.

According to Yahoo’s Marc Spears, the Jazz aren’t interested in moving Howard.

It’s unknown if Manu Ginobili will play against Orlando after suffering tightness in his lower body on Monday’s defeat of the Washington Wizards, but the rest of the Spurs’ team should be ready to go as the Magic come to town.

Case No. 41: Orlando Magic (28-15)

Road record: 13-8. Last 10 games: 7-3

The King

Dwight Howard – 21.1 points, 15 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 1.5 steals, 13.8 FGA (57%), 10.8 FTA (50%)

Howard scored 24 points and grabbed 25 rebounds against the Miami Heat, who aren’t known for having a dominant frontline. The Spurs, like the Heat, aren’t known for having towers in their frontline as well, so limiting Howard will be a group effort for Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, and Matt Bonner.

The Knights

  • Ryan Anderson – 16 points, 7.7 rebounds, 12.2 FGA (44%), 6.8 3PT FGA (42%)

He’s like the consistent-minute version of Matt Bonner. Whichever big man is defending him will have to remember to stay out on the perimeter, as Anderson shoots a ton of his shots from outside, this worries me if Blair or Splitter are the two left in charge of defending Anderson.

  • Jason Richardson (questionable– ankle) – 12.2 points, 1 steal, 11 FGA (42%), 5.1 3PT FGA (39%)

The Spurs’ perimeter defense allowed Wizards’ Nick Young and Jordan Crawford to connect on 7-of-11 three pointers on Monday, a player like Richardson and the rest of the Magic shooters can build a huge lead with those types of looks.

  • J.J. Redick – 11.4 points, 8.8 FGA (43%), 3.8 3PT FGA (46%)
  • Hedo Turkoglu – 11.2 points, 4.7 assists, 9.8 FGA (40%), 5.1 3PT FGA (36%)

The old-man game between Turkoglu and Richard Jefferson should be interesting to watch, until Kawhi Leonard comes into the game and shows what being hounded defensively by a 20-year old is like. Have fun Hedo.

The Bishop

Jameer Nelson – 9.4 points, 5.5 assists, 8.9 FGA (40%), 3.2 3PT FGA (34%)

Nelson lead the Magic down the stretch against the Heat, he can be dangerous down the stretch offensively, but he’s about to face Tony Parker who scored 31 points on Monday. Nelson will need help from the rest of his teammates in defending Parker, if not, he’s in for an even longer night.

The Pawn

Glen Davis – 7.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 7.7 FGA (38%)

Offense vs. Offense

  • 1. Points: Spurs (100) – Magic (94.5) = Spurs
  • 2. Assists: Spurs (22.3) – Magic (20.5) = Spurs
  • 3. Shooting percentage: Spurs (46.4%) – Magic (43.9%) = Spurs
  • 4. Three point shooting percentage: Spurs (39.5%) – Magic (38.8%) = Spurs
  • 5. Free throw attempts: Spurs (21.8) – Magic (24.3) = Magic
  • 6. Turnovers: Spurs (13) – Magic (14.5) = Spurs

Offensive Leader: Spurs 5-1

Defense vs. Defense

  • 1. Opponent scoring: Spurs (96) – Magic (91.9) = Magic
  • 2. Opponent shooting: Spurs (45%) – Magic (44%) = Magic
  • 3. Rebounds: Spurs (41.7) – Magic (43.4) = Magic
  • 4. Personal Fouls: Spurs (17.2) – Magic (18.1) = Spurs

Defensive Leader: Magic 3-1

Game Expectation

You could look at this game two ways:

1) The Magic are coming in with a ton of momentum after handing the Heat their 10th loss of the season. And, being on the road could be a bit more comfortable for the Magic as a team since they won’t have to deal with a ton of the “trade talk” on the road, as opposed to being in Orlando.

2) The Magic had to go to overtime to defeat the Heat which means if the Spurs can jump on the Magic early and build a substantial lead, head coach Stan Van Gundy might be forced to rest his main players since this is a shortened season and saving minutes for the postseason, is most important right now.

After watching some of the Magic-Heat game, Miami showed that they were able to open up the Magic’s defense and get them scrambling if they either drove into the paint, or passed the ball around on offense.

The Spurs are able to do this as Parker is a master at penetrating defenses and the Spurs are equipped with a bunch of shooters. If the Spurs limit their turnovers, play concentrated team defense on Howard, and contest every Magic three pointer (they’ll shoot a lot of them), then a victory could be in store before the Spurs hit the road.

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX, and the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals. Paul has been featured on WOAI, Fox 29, and numerous nationwide radio shows.

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