After major trades, Wizards and Magic have mixed results

12.19.10 7 years ago 39 Comments
Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard, Dime #60

How many times has a legit NBA championship contender engineered a massive overhaul of its roster in the middle of a season and remained a contender? The most recent example that comes to mind was in ’08, when the Cavs gutted half of their ’07 NBA Finals squad to pick up Ben Wallace, Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and Joe Smith at the February deadline. That team went on to lose in seven games to the championship-bound Celtics in the conference semis … Like LeBron back then, the Orlando Magic have a centerpiece superstar in Dwight Howard whose supporting cast appeared to be failing him. So they pulled off a couple major deals yesterday: Sending Rashard Lewis to the Wizards for Gilbert Arenas, then completing a six-player swap with Phoenix where Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark went to Orlando in exchange for Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat … If everybody passes their physicals by Monday, the new-look Magic will have three tough games — Hawks, Mavs and Spurs — to get ready for the Christmas Day game against Boston, but on Saturday the Magic were left short-handed against Philadelphia. How short-handed? Stan Van Gunday had to roll out a lineup of Chris Duhon, Jason Williams, J.J. Redick, Brandon Bass and Malik Allen for more than a minute. Dwight posted 26 points and 20 rebounds, but Philly wore Orlando down in the second half and went on to win … Not every Miami Heat win is going to be a blowout, but nobody would have assumed the sans-Arenas (and John Wall) Wizards would take them down to the wire. Midway through the fourth quarter, Washington was ahead by eight, and with 30 seconds left Josh Howard hit a short hook to put them up by five. At that point it seemed a win just wasn’t in the cards for Miami, but they made some huge defense plays and the Wizards — specifically Howard and Kirk Hinrich — helped them out by missing clutch free throws … Chris Bosh (20 pts, 9 rebs) hit a three, then made two free throws after being fouled on another three-point attempt to cut the lead to two, and James Jones stole the ensuing inbounds pass before tying it up with free throws with 13 seconds left. Hinrich got fouled and split a pair, then Dwyane Wade (20 pts) got fouled and made both FT’s for the lead. On the Wizards’ last chance, Hinrich went coast-to-coast but Bosh and LeBron (32 pts, 7 rebs, 6 asts) forced him to miss a wild runner as the Heat stole the W … Depressing trivia: None of the D.C. pro teams — Wizards, Redskins (NFL), Capitals (NHL) — have won a game since Dec. 3 … The Knicks need to call Soulja Boy for an intervention, because somebody has turned their swag off. A last-second loss to the Celtics is understandable; so is a blowout at the hands of the Heat. But losing to the Cavs? What part of the game is that? … New York was up two with 15 seconds left before Mo Williams (23 pts, 14 asts) got into the lane for a runner that forced overtime. Mo took over the extra frame, gift-wrapping layups for Anderson Varejao and sticking a pull-up in the lane to give Cleveland a cushion. On the other end, Amar’e Stoudemire (23 pts, 8-19 FG, 8 TO’s) came up short and Danilo Gallinari (1-10 3PA) kept settling for threes that weren’t dropping … Varejao (14 pts, 17 rebs, 4 blks) made more hustle plays by himself than all of the Knicks combined. One time he stole a pass and went coast-to-coast for a layup over Amar’e, then he got an acrobatic tip-in of a Mo Williams lob, then he spiked a Gallinari layup into the stands … San Antonio’s point guard/big man tandem similarly took over in overtime to beat Memphis. Tony Parker (37 pts, 15-21 FG, 9 asts) got a breakaway layup and a floater to cap his overall destruction of Mike Conley, while Tim Duncan (13 pts, 10 rebs, 3 blks) got an inside bucket and devoured a Conley layup before hitting Richard Jefferson with an outlet to set up a breakaway dunk. The Spurs defense held the Grizzlies to just six points in the extra frame … The Spurs announcers were talking about Antoine Walker’s D-League comeback when Sean Elliot said, “If I tried to make a comeback, it would probably have to start in the Z-League.” … Other stat lines from Saturday: Carmelo Anthony put up 24 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks to lead Denver past Minnesota, while Kevin Love went off for 43 points and 17 boards in the loss; Deron Williams posted 22 points and 11 assists as Utah beat Milwaukee; Andre Miller had 17 points, 8 assists and 4 steals in Portland’s win over Golden State; and Blake Griffin put up 29 points and 12 boards to lead the Clippers past Chicago, while Derrick Rose had 34 points and 8 assists but missed a free throw that would have tied the game with 0.8 seconds left … The freshmen dominated the college basketball headlines yesterday. Kansas’ Josh Selby made his debut in style, scoring 21 points and hitting five threes, including the game-winner against USC; Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger posted 30 points and 19 boards as the Buckeyes destroyed South Carolina; and Texas’ Cory Joseph beat North Carolina with a turnaround jumper from the top of the key with 1.5 seconds left, one-upping Harrison Barnes’ go-ahead three for the Tar Heels on the previous possession … We’re out like the Knicks’ hype …

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