But that's to be expected. Rarely do teams make the kind of sweeping changes Orlando has and even rarer are the teams that do considered contenders for a title. The Magic didn't practice with the new players and couldn't even conduct a shootaround because Richardson, Turkoglu, Arenas and Earl Clark were taking physicals. Clearly there is going to be an adjustment period, particularly for Arenas and Richardson, while they settle into the system.
Said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, "We're starting from scratch."
Consider: A big part of Atlanta's game plan clearly was to attack Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu on the post and run Jameer Nelson and Arenas off screens. The Hawks repeatedly put Joe Johnson in post-up situations on Richardson and even called Smith's number a few times when Turkoglu was on his back. Mike Bibby had a monster second half as Nelson and Arenas struggled to close out on his jump shot.
Consider this, too: Howard played 42 minutes. There are going to be games when he gets into early foul trouble. and those minutes plummet to the mid-30s. Without Gortat the Magic have no one (sorry, Malik Allen) around to back him up, which is why rival executives say Orlando is scouring the league for another backup big.