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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Magic Take Down Cavs


After losing their first two games against the Cavaliers this season, the Magic got a 101-95 win on Sunday afternoon.

Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson came out of nowhere to take the game over in the fourth quarter.

"Then Vince Carter appeared, as if from nowhere, fulfilling his go-to-guy duties. “It ignited our team. It’s something you just know … when it’s time,” he said. “I wasn’t in a rush.” Carter reached the line for two free throws and then received a nifty pass from point guard Nelson for a dunk that got the Magic to within 85-84.Carter came into the fourth with just one field goal in seven attempts, but he scored eight of his 11 points in the last period. Nelson made up for his five-turnover day, hitting a jumper to give Orlando an 86-85 lead it would not relinquish."

Brian Schmitz has the story here.

The Magic showed they have some mojo with the victoy.

"“People can have whatever views they want of our team,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said, “and they’ve had the view for over 2 ½ years that we’re a soft team, and so my response to them is to always go back and look at our record against the teams that are supposed to be too tough for us … What matters in this league is results.”Cue the fourth quarter. While the rest of the world continued to obsess over Shaq and Dwight Howard tussling over merchandising rights to the Superman logo, Carter and Jameer Nelson showed that the little guys can own a basketball game.Does 16 consecutive points work for you?With the Magic trailing 85-80, Carter and Nelson went on a tit-for-tat barrage. They each scored eight points, capped off by Nelson’s 24-foot jumper that pushed Orlando’s lead to 96-88 with two minutes left."

George Diaz has that story here.

Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer thinks we may be in for another classic matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals.

"Cleaning up those weak spots is vital to the Cavs winning a series against Orlando. The Celtics promise to be an extreme challenge, but there’s a good chance that it will come down to Cavs-Magic in the conference finals.If the Cavs are going to win a series like that, they are going to have to play a little better defense than they got in the last two meetings (Magic averaged 103.5 points) and they need a little more offense than they showed in this loss. Orlando has such offensive talent — they shot 50 percent and scored 100 points and got nothing from Vince Carter until the last six minutes — that the Cavs are going to have to score a bit to beat them. Even playing good defense against the Magic isn’t always good enough, it is hard to beat them 90-89. It is always going to more likely be 102-101."

You can find that story here.

All of the talk is about Cleveland, but it’s the Magic who are the defending Eastern Conference Champions.

"“You look at all of the commercials and you’d think that the Lakers and Cleveland are already in The Finals,” smirked Nelson, who scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter. “I guess (Cavs vs. Lakers) is what all of the fans want to see, but we’re here to spoil that again.“I guess (the Cavaliers) have a better record than us, so we just want to get to their level. And (on Sunday) I think we really did that.”Orlando (38-19) beat Cleveland (43-14) for the first time this season after losing to the Cavs twice earlier. Orlando won two of three regular-season meetings last season and then beat the Cavs 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals. And both teams left the floor on Sunday with the distinct feeling that they will almost certainly see each other again come playoff time in late May."

John Denton has this and more and in his postgame analysis.

Tim Povtak of NBA Fanhouse also weighed in on the situation.

"Nelson and the Magic toppled the Cavaliers Sunday, casting some doubt into the inevitability of that Lakers/Cavs Finals, reminding everyone again that they — and not the Cavs — are the defending Eastern Conference champs.“This [victory] means a lot,” said Nelson, who had 18 points and eight in the decisive fourth quarter. “We know we can beat them now.”Share It took the Magic six games to beat Cleveland last spring in the conference final, and both teams Sunday seemed to know they will meet again when it really matters, when this growing rivalry will really get interesting."

You can find that story here.

Alex Kennedy of Hoops World was also in attendance – you can find his courtside blog here.

LeBron James had a big game against the Magic but James is so used to big games like his 33-point performance, Tania Ganglui called it a “routine big night.” After the game, both James and Cavaliers Head Coach Mike Brown voiced their displeasure with the officiating.

"“I thought LeBron did a nice job attacking tonight,” Cleveland Coach Mike Brown said. “I thought there were a couple times when he attacked … you see a guy turn his body, you think it’s a foul. Obviously it wasn’t called tonight. Not just once, not just twice, but a few times on his drives. You just gotta keep playing and go from there, but I thought he did a nice job.”James averaged 29 points a game entering Sunday’s game and hasn’t scored fewer than 22 in the month of February.Brown wasn’t the only one irked by the lack of fouls James drew. Sunday afternoon’s game was physical and testy and the officials let it be.“I think one thing that hurts me is because of my size and my strength, I feel like I go to the hole just as much as anybody in this league, and sometimes I don’t get the benefit of the calls,” James said. “There were a few times I got grabbed, I got pushed, I got smacked, there were no calls.”"

You can find that story here.

Shaq was much more complimentary of Howard Sunday.

"In a physical battle seemingly made for the fictional Man of Steel, two of pro basketball’s last remaining superstar big men brought out the best in each other.Howard scored 22 points and collected 16 rebounds Sunday to lead the Orlando Magic to a 101-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.O’Neal, meanwhile, played as efficiently on offense as he has all season. He made nine of his 10 shots and finished with 20 points.“I really consider him a big man: myself, him and Yao,” O’Neal said. “I’m sure he doesn’t mind the physicality. I [darn] sure don’t mind it. So, two big, strong guys — old bull, young bull — going at it? A fun game to watch.”"

Josh Robbins has that story here.

Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post has what he called an “exhaustive” recap.

"Orlando made the late run by consistently using a new play, a side pick-and-roll with Carter and Nelson which Van Gundy said he only installed yesterday. In his typical style, Van Gundy called the play “simple” and said there are “third-grade teams that can come up with that stuff.” Regardless of its simplicity, the play proved effective, as the Cavaliers could not stop it."

You can find that here.

Phillip Rossman-Reich of Orlando Magic Daily raved about the clutch play of Jameer Nelson and Vince Cater.

"For Orlando, Vince Carter was typically inefficient. And then something clicked.Running a pick and roll with Jameer Nelson in the late stages of the fourth quarter, Carter and Nelson scored 18 straight points to spark a Magic run that put them in the lead. Carter hit a tough jumper over James in the post to cap off the run and then found Rashard Lewis in the corner for a 3-pointer to put the game away."

You can read that story here.

Cody Norman of Kings James Gospel had to refer to Dwight Howard as the “real” Superman because of Orlando’s victory. You can see what he thought of the game here.

John Krolik of Cavs: The Blog also weighed in on the game. He was not happy with Mo Williams’ play.

"The big reason the Cavs lost this one was the play of Mo Williams and Delonte West. Both of them looked rusty, and they went a combined 3-18 from the floor with no threes. Delonte provided hustle, but very little else. Mo really looked out of it. He wasn’t running the offense, he wasn’t hitting open shots, he wasn’t making a good effort to set himself up with good looks, and he was getting abused on defense. Other than that, though, good game for Mo."

You can find his thought here.

Antawn Jamison showed a little bit of what he could do on Sunday.

"It should be obvious to Mike Brown, but just to make sure: “Hey, coach, start Antawn Jamison at power forward.” When Jamison opened the second half in the lineup and the Cavs actually ran some plays for him ––well, the guy who averaged 20 points for Washington suddenly showed up."

Terry Pluto of the Plain-Dealer has that story here.

Matt Barnes’ fundraiser is Monday night. All of the funds raised go to benefit the Florida Hospital for Children Cancer Institute

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here.