Do Magic Take Too Many 3-Point Shots?
You just hope it doesn't happen very often.
The Orlando Magic are on pace to set NBA records for 3-pointers made and 3-pointers attempted in a season, but those numbers backfired Friday in a frigid shooting night against the Dallas Mavericks.
You don't win many games making 4-of-25 from 3-point land, the Magic's worst shooting percentage (.160) of the season.
"Our shooting, obviously, was horrendous,'' said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "We had too many times of just coming up and shooting the ball. We need to maybe look at reigning in a few guys who just are consistently not making shots.''
It's a criticism the Magic heard last season, too, yet they shot their way into the NBA Finals. It is likely to hang over the rest of this season, too.
"It's just who we are. It's the team we've assembled,'' said Magic guard J.J. Redick, normally one of the best shooters in the league. "I was bad tonight. You just hope guys don't follow your lead.''
Redick missed all four of his shots and his only 3-point attempt. Mickael Pietrus missed all five of his 3-pointers. Ryan Anderson missed all three of his. The Magic's reserves combined to miss all 10 of their attempts. Rashard Lewis made 2-of-7.
The Magic shot a respectable 41.4 percent from the field, mostly because Dwight Howard hit 11-of-19 shots, and he stayed away from the 3-point line that he discovered at the All-Star Game last weekend. Howard led everyone with 29 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks. The Mavericks, who trailed throughout the first half, started double-teaming him in the second half and went on a 19-0 run by forcing him to pass out to shooters who weren't shooting well.
"They made me kick it out,'' Howard said. "Our guys just have to knock down those shots.''
The Magic attempted a season-low 12 free throws, including 10 from Howard. They made 52 points in the paint, yet they missed far too many from long range.
Orlando came into the game ranked sixth in the league in 3-point shooting percentage (.367), averaging 10.2 makes and 27.8 attempts per game, easily the most in the league.
The Magic set an NBA record with 23 3-pointers made in a game last season against Sacramento. They have made at least 10 3-pointers 32 times this season. During the two-plus seasons under Van Gundy, they have made at least 10 in 121 games.
"We usually make shots, and we just didn't make them tonight,'' said point guard Jameer Nelson. "You don't change what you do.''
The Magic shooting disaster, coupled with back to back losses for the Cleveland Cavaliers, has stolen some of the luster off of Sunday's upcoming nationally televised game.
The Cavs/Magic, on ABC, is a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals, pitting the top two teams in the East against one another.