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News » Turkoglu reappears just in time for Magic


Turkoglu reappears just in time for Magic


Turkoglu reappears just in time for Magic
Mindful of the poor shooting performance he had in Game 6 Thursday night in Orlando, Fla., Hedo Turkoglu was determined to come out firing last night.

``I'm always confident in myself and I always believe in myself,'' said Turkoglu, who hit just 3 of 13 field goals in Game 6. ``I knew I had a bad game back home in Orlando and I didn't want to let that happen again.''

Turkoglu left little chance of that in last night's 101-82 victory over the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The first Turkish-born player in the NBA, Turkoglu paved the way for the Magic to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1996 with a game-high 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting, including 4 of 5 from the arc, to go along with 12 assists.

``Well, this was his best game,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of Turkoglu. ``And I thought him getting out of the gates early was big for them. It was big for their confidence. I thought the two threes they made early was just really big for them.''

Turkoglu helped set the tone early when he followed a 3-pointer by Rafer Alston with the first of his four treys to help the Magic open up a 6-2 lead with 9:31 to go. Fittingly, Turkoglu punctuated the triumph by scoring 10 of his 25 points in the fourth, capping a decisive 11-0 run at the start of the period that enabled the Magic to stretch a 5-point lead into 16 (77-61) on Turkoglu's 3-point play with 9:59 remaining.

``They had been struggling shooting threes,'' said Rivers, noting how the Magic had shot 30.5 percent from the arc (43 of 141) through the first six games. ``And they come out bang, bang, and make them. And you can see their entire team get up for that. And [it] made them feel like they can make shots. But Turkoglu is, you know, listen, they've got three All-Stars: Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, and Dwight Howard.''

But it was evident early that Turkoglu would make the difference.

``If his energy level is high, he's such a skilled guy that he's going to play pretty well,'' said Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy. ``Now like anybody he may not be shooting it well, but he's going to play well. Turk is probably an understatement to say, not always a high energy guy.

``And when he plays at a lower energy level he becomes mediocre. His skill level is so high to begin with, that when he's playing with high energy he is a great Basketball player and that's what he was tonight.''

Time and again, the TD Banknorth Garden crowd of 18,624 cursed Turkoglu's name as he rose up and knocked down a basket. There was the running 20-foot jumper he made after the Celtics had pulled within 45-42 in the third quarter and a 3-point dagger that gave the Magic a 60-50 lead.

Then, in the fourth quarter, after Ray Allen made a trey that whittled Orlando's lead to 90-78, Turkoglu effectively snuffed out any hopes of a Celtics comeback when he answered with a trey and followed it with a 21-footer to give his club a 95-78 lead.

``This is the first time in my career I'm in this role, being on a good team and being in a good situation,'' said Turkoglu, a nine-year veteran.

``I'm just happy to be part of it and what I did to help the team get the W. It's just going to add to my experience even more and hopefully I'll continue like this in the Eastern Conference finals.''

Michael Vega can be reached at vega @globe.com.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 18, 2009

 

 
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