|Magic finding balance: Lots of 3's, lots of wins|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 19 January 2009 11:08|
Not that he's complaining.
The Magic entered Monday leading the NBA in both 3-pointers made (430, 64 percent more than the league average) and accuracy (40.3 percent) - two major reasons why Orlando has matched the best 41-game start in franchise history. Orlando's impressive 33-8 start has sparked championship talk in central Florida.
However, no NBA champion has shot as often from long range as Orlando, which takes an average of 26 shots from beyond the arc every night.
Sacramento would have certainly enjoyed seeing the Magic stop at 26 tries last week, when Orlando hit an NBA-record 23 times on 37 attempts on the way to an easy 139-107 win.
The Magic have four players ranked among the league's top 23 in 3-point percentage, more than any other club. Point guard Jameer Nelson (69-152, .454) entered Monday fifth in the NBA. Courtney Lee (29-66, .439) was 10th, J.J. Redick (32-75, .427) was 18th and Rashard Lewis (121-286, .423) was 23rd.
Combine that with the dominance of the league's leader in rebounding and blocked shots - Dwight Howard - in the pivot, along with the ability for Orlando's 6-foot-10 shooters - Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu (74-203, .365) to easily shoot over defenders, and it adds up to a start that even has surprised the Magic to some extent.
``When you're 33-8, there's no such thing as too many 3's,'' Lewis said. ``If we were 8-33, then maybe. But we're going to go with what's rolling and what's helping us win. We're successful with it now, so we're going to keep doing it.''
It's never been a lock, though, for an NBA team to combine tons of 3's with tons of wins.
ars with Michael Jordan in the 1990s, the Bulls averaged 10.7 shots from 3-point range per game.
The Magic might shoot that many in a quarter.
Neither of the Bulls' first two title teams shot as many 3-pointers in a full season (424 in 1990-91, 454 in 1991-92) as Lewis and Turkoglu have already this year (489).
Since the 3-point shot was added, only one team - the 1994-95 Houston Rockets - averaged more than 20 attempts from 3-point range during the regular season and went on to capture the championship.
Last year's Boston Celtics took 1,564 shots from 3-point range all season; at their current pace, this season's Magic will eclipse that total with 22 games left in the campaign.
``Yeah, but if we keep hitting them, you really can't complain,'' Nelson said.
It's practically impossible for Van Gundy to put a lineup on the floor that doesn't have at least three accomplished 3-point shooters, something he's all-too-happy to exploit. Few, if any, teams in the NBA will try to defend Howard 1-on-1 in the paint, so Van Gundy plays off of that by having the Magic extend their spacing whenever possible.
And if teams are worried too much about the perimeter, the Magic will send the ball into Howard, who's averaging 20.2 points, 14.1 rebounds, 3.2 blocks on 56 percent shooting.
oward, though, and the Magic will find whomever's open from 3-point land.
``I like shooting. I like having it on the floor,'' Van Gundy said. ``I think it's key in the NBA, the way it is today, to spread the floor out. The more room you have, the easier chance you have of scoring.''