The Orlando Magic defeated the Boston Cetlics 96-94 on Thursday night. Click &..."/> The Orlando Magic defeated the Boston Cetlics 96-94 on Thursday night. Click &..."/>

Orlando Magic News & Notes: A Huge Win


The Orlando Magic defeated the Boston Cetlics 96-94 on Thursday night. Click here to find out what the Magic had to say about the win.

The Magic’s last possession started off ugly, but the end result was great.

"The last possession was typical — disjointed, discombobulated, players playing hot potato against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.And so typical of the season, the Orlando Magic couldn’t find struggling go-to guy, Vince Carter, when they needed him most.So after the Boston Celtics blanketed Carter, J.J. Redick frantically fed the ball to Rashard Lewis, who had no choice with the clock ticking down.Lewis’ strength is not driving to the basket so it figured a 3-point shooter wound up being the hero. Lewis drove past Kevin Garnett for the game-winning layup with 1.3 seconds left for an improbable 96-94 victory against the Celtics, rallying from a 16-point deficit at a raucous Amway Arena."

Brian Schmitz has the story here.

Dwight Howard finally found his rhythm late in the game.

"“That’s the best he’s played against their big guys in the low post,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I thought that he looked tremendous down there, and we kept going to him in the fourth quarter because he was playing so well. I just think [that] we were able to get him the ball in the fourth was the big thing.”"

You can read more about Howard from Josh Robbins here.

Robbins also wonders if Howard and Marcin Gortat will see more time together?

"Howard and Gortat played all but 1 minute, 8 seconds of the fourth quarter together as Orlando outscored Boston 35-22. Howard had his most productive stretch offensively against the Celtics all season, scoring 11 points and making 5-of-6 shots. Gortat also chipped in by making a key 17-foot jumper off the glass to give the Magic their first lead of the game.“It might sound crazy, but I believe I could shoot that shot last year, too, and I just didn’t have the opportunity to shoot it,” Gortat said. “I still believe I can shoot from outside. The role that I have on the team just makes me a little bit different player. But, still, that’s what the team needs, and that’s what I’m going to do.”"

Click here to read that story.

Rashard Lewis’ game-winner wasn’t the only thing he did well.

"Lewis did more than just hit the game-winner; he carried the Magic’s offense for long stretches.Realizing how the Celtics had closed out on his 3-point shot in the previous two games, Lewis made a concerted effort to drive the ball more Thursday night. As a result, he got in the lane time and again and hit eight of 13 shots for a game-high 23 points.“Rashard has been putting the ball on the floor more and these last seven games he’s back to averaging about 17 points a game and back to where he was last season,’’ Van Gundy said. “He hadn’t been very aggressive or energetic and we talked about it. But he’s a guy who takes responsibility and he’s gone out and done something about it.’’"

Read John Denton’s postgame analysis here.

Lewis was excited to get the win.

"We really need to go out there and get our swagger back real soon. We went to Boston last year in the playoffs and won because we knew we were the better team and that we were going to win. Winning a Game 7 in Boston did so much for our confidence, and I really think that’s why we advanced against Cleveland. We had so much momentum going into that Cavaliers series after beating the World Champs, and beating ‘em in Boston, too.Boston is such a good defensive team and they really made us look bad back on Christmas Day when we played them here in Orlando. But to be a true professional, you have to learn from games like that.I knew that KG would be trying to run me off the 3-point line and take away my jump shot, so I went into this game knowing I would have to drive the ball. Putting the ball on the floor got me going in the second half. I think I made seven out of eight shots in the second half because I was driving the ball hard and getting to the rim."

Read Sweet Lew’s blog here.

Click here to see video of Lewis talking about the win on ESPN First Take Friday morning.

Vince Carter was one Magic player that did not have a good night.

"The Magic change the play on the inbound, and call for Howard to catch it in the post — it’s not nearly as good as catching it wide open on the run in the lane, but at least it’s a way to get their best player the ball. Or … is it? Before Carter can make the entry pass, he has the ball poked away by Rasheed Wallace. It rolls toward midcourt. Rondo beats Carter there by about half an hour. Carter jumps right on top of him. A blatant foul, only Carter got there so late, that he is saved by the fact that Rondo has already called timeout."

Henry Abbot discusses that here.

Phillip Rossman-Reich discussed Orlando’s win.

"When Stan Van Gundy sent Howard and Gortat on the floor together to match up with Kendrick Perkins/Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett, it may have looked like a somewhat desperate move to try and keep Orlando in the game after falling behind by 16 in the third quarter and cutting it to 72-61 to start the fourth quarter.But the move worked out brilliantly. With Gortat backing up Howard or the other way around, the two worked well together defensively. Howard had four blocks, but Gortat also did a number on the glass with three blocks and eight rebounds. On one possession Gortat tipped a Glen Davis drive as the ball left his hand and then Howard pinned the shot on the glass for the rebound."

Read more from Rossman-Reich here.

Scouts on the Daily Dime size up the Magic.

"“They’re definitely missing the ability of Hedo to play pick-and-roll. Jameer [Nelson] has to be on the ball more, and Vince [Carter] … he can play pick-and-roll but not to the extent Hedo does. And that affects Rashard [Lewis]. But I still think they’re really good. I think Orlando is still right there with Cleveland and Boston and I’ll even throw Atlanta into the mix.“It’s an interesting little circle they’ve got going [at the top of the East]. I don’t think Boston wants to play Cleveland in the playoffs. Atlanta doesn’t want any piece of Orlando. Whoever wins the East is going to come down to matchups. Whoever gets the most favorable matchups in the second round and conference finals.”"

Read more about that here.

Eddy Rivera wonders if the Magic are turning a corner.

"Ever since the Blazers game, the Magic’s offense has been Howard-centric – for the most part – and the team has been reaping the benefits. Yes, Orlando continues to neglect Howard on the offensive side of the ball for whatever reason but the neglecting hasn’t been as bad as it has been in the past. As such, Howard has been able to impress on offense and have sterling performances against elite teams that have, historically, given him fits due to the respective personnel on the roster. Specifically, the Lakers and the Boston Celtics, with Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Kendrick Perkins, and Rasheed Wallace as the main players in question. It’s no secret that Howard has had problems in previous meetings with Los Angeles and Boston because they are two of the few teams in the NBA with the size to bother him. But in what may be a storyline that should be followed closely, Howard didn’t have many issues scoring on the Lakers or the Celtics. Not with dunks, mind you, but with post moves. By the way, Howard will have another chance to prove his mettle at Boston on February 7th. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues and there’s no guarantee that it will. But if it does, things change. Like the balance of power in the Eastern Conference, for example, not only this year but in the future."

You can find more from Rivera here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)