Magic Take Care Of Business, Destroy Warriors


The Orlando Magic won for the third consecutive time on Wednesday night, defeating the Golden State Warriors on 117-90. The Magic blew the game open at the end of the first half and never looked back. Dwight Howard scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Magic. C.J. Watson led the Warriors with 18 points.

NBA Stats

The Magic did exactly what they were supposed to do – they played an injury-riddled, inferior team and dominated them.

“We have to get that mentality of putting teams away,” Vince Carter told the media after the game.

Wednesday night, they did.

The Magic, who have been known to give up big leads, never led by less than 20 points after the first minute of the third quarter.

With the Magic ahead by 22 entering the final quarter, the Magic were challenged to hold the Warriors to 20 points in the fourth quarter. The Magic responded, holding the Warriors, the highest scoring team in the league, to 18 points, using a group made up entirely of bench players.

There aren’t a whole lot of bad things to say about Orlando’s performance on Wednesday night. In fact, an unusually happy Stan Van Gundy wondered how reporters would be able to do their job.

“We’ll find out how good you guys are tonight,” Van Gundy said. “We’ll see if you actually have questions about that game. That is going to be hard work for you guys to come up with questions about that game.”

Van Gundy played off the blowout because of all of the problems Golden State has had.

“That was a team on a back-to-back with eight guys and the game went as it should,” Van Gundy told reporters. “There were a few moments there I wasn’t real happy with, but the game went as it should.”

Van Gundy said that the bad moments came from their 3-point defense, something that he says the Magic have had a problem with all season. Golden State shot 10-of-23 from beyond the arc.

After two subpar games (by his standards), Dwight Howard was fantastic on Wednesday. Howard scored 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked 2 shots in just over 32 minutes of work. The Warriors attempted to play Howard one-on-one and that did not work at all. Howard went to work in the post and showed off his nice lefty hook.

But forget about Howard’s double-double. His most impressive number of the night was zero. Howard did not pick a foul on Wednesday night. Howard, who is often plagued by foul trouble, said that the Guiness people were there to give him a world record for that achievement.

Howard also had a few plays that brought the crowd to their feet:

  • He was the trailer on a fast break and threw down a huge dunk.
  • He blocked a shot that led to a J.J. Redick fast break layup.
  • He brought the ball up the floor and hit Matt Barnes for an open layup.

10 players scored for the Magic and 6 of them, including all 5 starters, scored in double figures.

Vince Carter, who scored 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting, had some very impressive plays. At one point during the third quarter, Carter assisted on three consecutive 3-pointers (two by Rashard Lewis, one by Jameer Nelson).  On two possessions, Carter posted up and then kicked the ball out for an open trey. Carter also made a ridiculous spin move that got him an open layup. Carter made three shots with his left hand. When he was asked about it, Carter said that he’s always been good with his off-hand.

“I can shoot them (left-handed shots & layups),” Carter said. “I’m very capable. I make more left-handed layups than anything.”

Carter is playing exactly the way the Magic need him to. He’s taking smart shots and making good decisions with the ball.

Ditto for Jameer Nelson.

Nelson scored 13 points, grabbed 6 rebounds (which have tied him for a team-high on the Warriors) and dished out 4 assists, while turning the ball over just once. Nelson credited his health as the reason for his recent high level of play.

“I’m just feeling healthier than I was in previous months,” Nelson said. “After the injury, especially now after the All-Star Break, I’m just kicking in gear.”

Rashard Lewis also continued to attack the hoop and it paid off once again. He scored 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting and got himself to the free throw line 4 times. Lewis was also 3-of-7 from downtown.

Brandon Bass saw 17-and-a-half minutes of actions and had one of his most productive games of the season. Bass scored 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting and grabbed 7 rebounds.

Van Gundy loved Bass’ effort.

“A lot more active, I thought he made some real hustle plays, got on the boards,” Van Gundy told the media.

The Magic absolutely owned the glass, doubling the Warriors’ rebounding totals 58-29.

The Magic simply did what they were supposed to do. They dominated the Warriors and put their foot on their throat once they got a big lead.

Game Notes:

  • Matt Barnes had a very efficient night, scoring 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbing 8 rebounds.
  • The Magic owned the paint. Orlando scored a season-high 70 points in the paint to Golden State’s 34.
  • Orlando went on a 39-13 run in an 11-minute span during the second and third quarters.
  • Orlando made 47 field goals, which was a season-high.
  • When the Magic shoot better than 50% from the floor, they are 16-0.
  • When six or more players score in double figures, Orlando is 15-1.
  • Orlando scored over 60 points in the first half for the third time in three games.
  • Every available Magic player played in the game.
  • The media received a Warriors press release just before the game saying that the Warriors called up Reggie Williams from the D-League. Williams, who led the NCAA in scoring during the last two seasons at VMI, showed flashes of his college brilliance. He scored points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. That’s a pretty good debut.

Next Up: The Magic travel to New Jersey to take on the Nets on Friday night. HTD will be chatting with Nets Are Scorching to help preview the game.

Final Thought: The Magic did exactly what they needed to do from start to finish.

(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).