Orlando’s Offense Explodes, Magic Blow Out 76ers 126-105

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The Magic’s offense was clicking on all cylinders throughout their game Monday night. The Magic played poor defense in the first half (especially in the first quarter) but they turned it up on the defensive end in the second half and came away with a 126-105 victory. Jameer Nelson led the way with 22 points and 10 assists. Rookie Jrue Holiday led all scorers with 23 points.

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The Magic had their most efficient and balanced offensive effort of the season. They shot an effective field goal percentage of 68.2%, had a true shooting percentage of 71.6% and finished with an efficiency of 135.5. The Magic had 22 assists and just 11 turnovers. Orlando got just about whatever they wanted on offense. A few times they went back to the 1/2 pick-and-roll that was so successful in their last victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. On two consecutive plays, it got Vince Carter and Nelson wide open looks that they both knocked down. The Magic ran their offense through the post. It got them easy looks from the outside and they knocked down 15 of their 23 three-point attempts (65.2%). It was the definition of inside-out basketball.

Speaking of Nelson, he was fantastic on Monday night. Sure, he had some defensive lapses, but that only seemed to make him play even better on offense. Combine that with the fact that he was playing in front of his hometown crowd in Philadelphia and it makes for one hell of a game. Nelson scored 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting, dished out 10 assists and had just a single turnover. In only 27 minutes. Nelson set himself and his teammates up for open looks, running Orlando’s offense to near perfection.

All five Magic starters were excellent – it was the best and most balanced that they’ve played all season. Every starter shot over 50% from the field and Dwight Howard’s 14 points were the lowest by any starter. Howard only grabbed 3 rebounds and played just 24 minutes because of some foul trouble again and there was no reason for him to come back into the game in the fourth quarter because the bench had no trouble holding the lead.

For the second consecutive game, both Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter had good games.  Carter shot 7-of-13 from the field and Lewis went 8-of-12. The two scored 19 points a piece. Matt Barnes scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting and made all three of his 3-point attempts. Carter also had 7 rebounds and 4 assists, including an alley-oop pass to Matt Barnes. Lewis was aggressive again and got to the hoop often.

Orlando’s “Big 4” were all effective while they played which is something Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy has been waiting for all season.

Orlando’s bench was also very good offensively. J.J. Redick scored 11 points and Mickael Pietrus scored 10, giving Orlando seven players in double figures. Throw in Marcin Gortat’s 6 points, Jason Williams’ 5 and Brandon Bass’ 4 and all 10 Magic players who played in the game scored. The bench was able to help Orlando’s lead grow in the second half and didn’t lose the lead at all in the fourth quarter.

Redick continues to do an excellent job with his head fake. It has gotten him a lot of calls this season and that was the case again on Monday. Redick 5-of-5 from the charity stripe.

Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy was unhappy with Orlando’s defense, claiming that both offenses really got anything they wanted, but after the first quarter, Orlando’s defense played much better, especially in the third quarter. Philadelphia shot 14-of-20 from the field and had an eFG% of 80% in the first quarter but in the next three quarters, they shot just 28-of-66 and had an eFG% of 45.5%.

Game Notes:

  • Jameer Nelson hosted his foundation, the Pete and Jameer Nelson Foundation, at the game. He had a great night on the court and an even better night on the court. The goal of Nelson’s foundation is to “enrich the lives of kids while providing them with opportunities that they normally would not have.” Nelson had a special tickets promotion that benefited his foundation.
  • The Magic had several highlight plays from this game including two big dunks, one by Dwight Howard on an alley-oop from Jameer Nelson and one Mickael Pietrus on a put-back. You can watch those here.
  • After 20 straight games with a double-double, Dwight Howard did not have one for the second consecutive game.
  • The Magic scored 48 points in the paint to Philadelphia’s 42.
  • Samuel Dalembert had 12 points and 11 rebounds and had a nasty block on a Pietrus dunk attempt.

Next Up: The Magic head back home to play the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

Van Gundy thought it was odd that the Magic are going home to play on Wednesday and then are heading back up north to play the New Jersey Nets on Friday, citing the fact that New Jersey is “right up the road” from Philadelphia.

Final Thought: That is the best offensive game Orlando has played this season. If Jameer Nelson continues to play at a high level, the Magic will be very difficult to stop.

(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).