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Game 54 Recrap

And no, that ain't a typo folks.  To say we checked out early wouldn't do this game justice.  We checked out early, trashed the room, and didn't leave the maid a tip.

Magic 103, Blazers 91

Team Observations:

You can pretty much ignore the box score on this one.  Believe me, any positive stats were amassed once the game was well out of reach.  We got killed tonight in every way that matters.  We bricked shots, our defense was atrocious, and we seemed to lose almost every significant rebound.  The offense mostly consisted of one guy going against everybody with all of his teammates standing around.  (The script remained the same...only the guy changed.)  Worst of all, almost nobody came to play.  I mean it was laughable.  It looked like last year's Blazers towards the close of the season and that's all you need to know.  No chance.  No chance at all.

It's funny.  Last night we lost by almost 20 and I felt good saying, "It's OK...that game wasn't as bad as it seemed."  Tonight we lose by 12 and it's a total disaster.  But believe me, those are accurate descriptions.

As several pointed out in the in-game chat...Dwight Howard going off big was understandable, but Darko Milicic with a career high?  You know you did something wrong there.

Individual Observations

--Jarrett Jack was one of the few people who came out of the gate ready to play.  He's learned from the last two games and really started to push inside on the drive.  That's still encouraging.  He finished with another sub-par shooting effort but if his teammates had been moving or hitting shots he would have had more assists.

--Brandon Roy also came out with effort, although it seems he's getting increasingly bound up in trying to score against the double team.  He went 8-16 tonight which is a great percentage, but a fair number of those misses were unnecessary.  I guess this is just him testing his boundaries though, which he needs to do.  He'll figure it out, and if he continues to shoot 50% while doing so there's nothing wrong with that.

--Don't even talk to me about Zach's game.  Don't do it.  You can scroll through the Gameday Open Thread if you want a sampling.  This was clearly his worst game of the year.  And if you're pointing to the 28 points and 10 rebounds, all you need to know is this quote from the Orlando broadcast team, probably slightly paraphrased because I was typing so fast when I heard it:  "Zach played basically no defense in this game but he's allowed to stay in to fatten up his stat line.  Nate McMillan must have his reasons."

By "no defense" they meant there were numerous times when he didn't even cross halfcourt, once when he didn't make it past our own three point line coming back, and a few others where he did make it back but four feet behind his man who cruised in for a dunk.  You could see the team deflate around him.  He's the one player who just cannot do that.  It's like calling roll call before going to war.  "Privates ready?  YESSIR!  Sergeants set?  YESSIR!  Officers?  ALL READY!  General?  General?  Huh?  What?  Oh...I don't know.  I'm not really into it today."  You can just see the privates looking at each other like, "Oh crap.  We're dead."

--Travis Outlaw showed some energy out there too.  

--Jamaal had seven boards but all of his flaws were more than evident too, especially on the defensive end.

--Lamarcus had an off night offensively and got 5 fouls in 16 minutes but he did have a couple of really nice post defensive stands against Howard.  Someday he's going to be pretty good at that I think.

--Joel played 10 minutes and only had one foul.  Can he really still be the starter after the break?  I don't get what's going on there.

Miscellaneous Observations

--Dwight Howard could make a nice living just selling the posters he created in this game.  That guy is SO much of a handful it isn't even funny.  We didn't have anyone who could come close to stopping him from doing anything he wanted.  

--We let them shoot almost 53% for the game.  Amazing.  

--I'll be interested to see how we come out of the break.  This isn't a good feeling going into it, that's for sure.

--Dave (