Magic Take Down Nets 97-87


The Orlando Magic didn’t play a spectacular game and had a lot of trouble putting the Nets away. They went up by around 13-to-15 points several times only to see the Nets cut the lead to single digits. Still, the Magic never let the lead get lower than that and came away with a 97-87 win. Matt Barnes led the Magic with 16 points while Dwight Howard added 11 points and 16 rebounds. Devin Harris (17 points, 10 assists) and Brook Lopez (18 points, 8 rebounds) led the Nets.


Defensively, it was a pretty good outing for the Magic. Aside from some struggles in the second quarter and the Nets’ sharpshooting in the last few minutes, the Nets were forced into some difficult shots and shot very poorly. The Nets wound up shooting an effective field goal percentage of 42.5% but with 4 minutes to go, the Nets were shooting 24-of-71 from the field (33.8%).

Brook Lopez fared better on Friday night than he did in his first two meetings with Dwight Howard but he still couldn’t match any of his season averages. Devin Harris distributed the ball well but needed 21 shots to score his 17 points.

Orlando’s offense wasn’t exactly smooth, but they didn’t play badly. They shot an effective field goal percentage of 52.5% and made 13 3-pointers.

Orlando’s offense had some of their same problems that they have had all seasons.

After Dwight Howard scored the first two baskets of the game, he didn’t get the ball enough after that, taking just 9 shots, hitting 5. Howard was his normal dominating self on the defensive end and on the glass. He grabbed 16 rebounds (5 offensive) and blocked 4 shots. He also continued to show off his improved passing skills, dishing out 4 assists. Howard does need to work on taking better care of the ball – he turned it over 5 times on Friday night.

Orlando’s turnover issues crept up again – the Magic turned the ball over 16 times that led to 21 Nets points. This is a problem Orlando must get corrected.

The Magic also couldn’t put the Nets away, but in their defense, they never trailed in the game.

Matt Barnes scored 14 first quarter points to help get the Magic going and then went back to do doing the dirty work. Barnes finished with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting with 5 rebounds and 3 steals.

Vince Carter had a quiet first half but hit some big shots in the second half. Carter had just 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting, but grabbed 3 rebounds and 3 assists and turned the ball over just once. Carter was also 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. His backcourt mate Jameer Nelson continued his high level of play. He scored 16 points on 4-of-9 shooting, went 3-of-5 from downtown, dished out 8 assists and 2 turnovers. Jason Williams’ performance cannot be overlooked either. He scored 13 points in just 19 minutes of playing, going 5-of-8 from the field and 3-of-5 from downtown.

When three of your guards can combine to go 8-of-13 from beyond the arc and you have a player like Howard in the middle, you’re going to be in good shape.

Game Notes:

  • Brandon Bass (7 points, 4 rebounds) and Mickael Pietrus (10 points, two 3-pointers, 3 assists) also gave solid contributions off of the bench.
  • The Magic were outscored in the paint 40-30.
  • Orlando won the battle of the boards 47-38.
  • J.J. Redick was not up for “Subway Sub of the Game,” an award that fans can vote on when games are televised by Sun Sports or Fox Sports Florida. This is very rare.
  • Kris Humphries had a solid game off of the bench for the Nets, scoring 12 points on 7 shots and grabbing 5 rebounds.

Next Up: The Magic will host the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 pm EST in a rematch of the NBA Finals.

Final Thought: The Magic still have some issues to overcome but they are getting victories and that’s all that really matters.

(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).