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In A Battle Of Second Units, Magic Cast A 'Win'-Spell
15 November 1997. Orlando Magic 102, Washington Wizards 91 (record: 4-5)
Game leaders: Strickland (24 points), Ham, Davis (9 rebounds), Strickland (9 assists)
I'm glad I didn't have to watch this game. The Wizards were without their dynamic duo, who are still sidelined by injured backs. But the Magic were without 3 key players - Penny Hardaway, Rony Seikaly, and Derek Harper -so I'd consider the injuries a wash.
It just didn't matter. On one level, it seemed like a relatively cleanly played game (the Magic commited only 7 turnovers, the Wizards only 8 turnovers). But after that simple statistic, it's much uglier. The Wizards against get pounded on the boards, giving up 20 offensive rebounds while grabbing only 23 defensive rebounds. They also commited 29 fouls, sending the Magic to the free throw line 41 times (including 24 times in the 4th quarter). Included in that were a couple of flagrant fouls against Darvin Ham, who was ejected after the second one (I like enthusiasm and hustle, but let's not be too aggressive, Darvin).
However, the Wizards only got the free throw line 14 times on 16 Magic turnovers, and that's not right. IMO, the Wizards still get no respect from the refs. Strickland and Cheaney are slashers, but they rarely get a call when contact is made, while other teams (in the same game) get the calls. That's bush league.
I like what Bernie said after the game: ""Our basketball team, with the way they showed up and competed, deserved better. Our guys did everything they could possibly do. There's no way you do your part, you make more field goals, you rebound, and you can overcome a 41-14 difference. They deserved better." (Can you sense the sarcasm dripping from this statement about the officiating?)
But a loss is a loss. The Wizards got production from Strickland (24 points, 9 assists), Cheaney (19 points), and Murray (23 points, 3 3-pointers), but little offensive scoring from the front court. And that's a serious weakness in this team, as I've mentioned before (even with the emergence of Terry Davis). And when Bo Outlaw, a hustler like Ham who isn't much of an offensive threat, goes for career high scoring of 24 points on 9 for 9 shooting, plus 10 free throw attempts, you know it wasn't a good night.
wtf 18 November 1997
|Muresan Out Until 1998||Hawks Take Flight Late To Win Thriller|