ORLANDO 139, KINGS 107
And now, he has done it again.
The Orlando coach who picked the Magics' Benz of a roster over the Kings' jalopy two summers ago was among the many joyous members of the Magic celebrating their history-making day at Arco Arena. And while Van Gundy has expressed his regrets more than once about how he handled the Kings in that infamous coaching search, I'm guessing he has no regrets about the way his team manhandled the Kings in the blowout.
The Magic were outrageously good in part because the Kings were so incredibly bad. And among the many critics on hand after this one, one of the more valid points was made by our own Marty McNeal. His point - which was made as he sat in Kevin Martin's chair in the locker room some two feet away from Francisco Garcia afterward - was that no team should be able to bury 23 threes without at least a couple of Magic gunners being put on their backsides in the process. Yet as he noted, the Magic were never fouled as they fired away from three-point land. Thirty-seven attempts with no fouls from beyond the arc and one blocked shot in all from the Kings. In other words, the Kings were 0-for-everything in the pride department.
"You never want to foul a three-point shooter no matter what," Garcia told me when I referenced Marty's observation. "I think that's the dumbest foul you can have. But we could have had some more fouls when they were going to the basket or whatever. They couldn't miss. That was the game."
A MAGICAL NIGHT
Since my game story had all Kings comments, let's hear from the Magic team that had so much fun at the home team's expense on their historic night.
On his offense and how it's tailor-made for nights like these..
"This would be the dream version of how it should be. Spread the floor and put three-point shooters out there. We have a great inside presence that played great tonight. We have two great pick-and-roll players in Jameer (Nelson) and Hedo (Turkoglu) that can score or find the open man. Basically everyone we put on the floor around the center (Dwight Howard) is three-point shooters. If you are going to stay on them, then you have to deal with the man in the middle."
On breaking the record...
"The guys on the bench were yelling when we got to 20 (made threes). I did not know about it nor do I care about it. I think any night you make 20-plus threes, you have a chance to win. From an offensive standpoint, there is nothing to quibble with."
On the game...
"We are playing really good right now and we are happy to break the record. We are finding the open guy, making the extra pass and it was good. They had been playing good the last few games. We have a lot of confidence and we just go out and play our game."
ONE BUMMED OUT BUS
Not long after the Kings finished discussing their night of embarrassment, they got to jump on a bus for the Bay Area for Wednesday's game at Golden State.
While the team would typically drive down to Oakland on the day of the game, Natt said he wanted to treat it like any other road trip and get to the destination city the night before the game. That meant a drive down I-80 that you can bet was morose, with the Kings checking into their Oakland hotel late before hitting the sack and likely sleeping in. The team doesn't have a shoot-a-round, so there will be ample time to ponder what went wrong and try to make it right against a far more beatable foe in the Warriors. - Sam Amick
* Not that anyone was predicting this type of history, but a Kings-Magic matchup was certainly destined to end with a whole lot of threes for Orlando.
Entering play, the Kings were tied for last in the league in opponent's three-point percentage at 40 percent. And that was after a recent improvement that I had noted in this previous post. Since I was singing the Kings' praises for improving defensively after they held Dallas to 17 fourth-quarter points on Sunday, it should be noted that the Magic had reached 17 points just three minutes, 52 seconds into the first quarter of this game.
The Magic, of course, were tied for second in the league in three-point percentage (39). For those without a calculator, 23 of 37 from three is good for 62.2 percent.
* The Van Gundy saga will always be an unfortunate one for the Kings. While they've had so many missteps in the process of hiring coaches, he was one candidate that may have provided the right mix of coaching know-how and legit experience to avoid the roller coaster that ensued. Instead, he took them for a ride and it continued long after he was headed back to Orlando.
Meanwhile, his regret is hardly a hindrance to the success he's having with the Magic while turning in quite a case for Coach of the Year.
* Shelden Williams logged seven minutes, marking the first time he has played since Dec. 28. Safe to say he's growing more frustrated by the day since he has become the new Kenny Thomas while Thomas is actually seeing playing time.
* Donte' Greene was on hand to watch this one at Arco, having played three home games with the Reno Bighorns and returning only to pack more clothes for an upcoming D-League road trip.
The rookie small forward scored 18 points on 8 of 17 shooting in 29 minutes as the Bighorns downed the D-Fenders for a second straight game on Tuesday. Greene has come off the bench in all three games and it sounds like he could stay with the team for at least a couple of road games. They play four of their next five on the road. - Sam Amick