Magic Overcome Poor Start, Beat Wizards 109-95

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After being dominated early on and falling behind 37-23 in the second quarter, the Magic went on a 23-4 run to take the lead. Orlando dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Wizards 41-22 in the period to take a six-point halftime lead. The Magic added to their lead in the third quarter and the Magic again extended the lead in the fourth quarter and closed the game out earning a 109-95 victory. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 28 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. Andray Blatche had 32 points, the 4 rebounds and 4 assists to lead the Wizards.

NBA

The Magic shot the ball very well. They had an effective field goal percentage of 56.9%. After the first quarter, the Magic played pretty well on defense but still allowed the Wizards to shoot an eFG% of 50%

After a poor first quarter, the Magic outscored the Wizards by 27 from then on. The Magic used a dominating second quarter to take control of the game. Dwight Howard was dominant during the quarter – he scored 11 of his 18 first half points in the quarter.

For the second time in three games, Howard played the entire first half. He had a fairly poor start with some careless early turnovers, but the Magic did an excellent job of getting Howard the ball and he made the defense pay. He scored 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting and grabbed 15 rebounds. Howard also showed off his passing and decision-making skills, dishing out 5 assists. He was also dominating on defense. Wizards Center JaVale McGee couldn’t stay out of foul trouble while trying to guard Howard and was 1-of-6 from the field, not hitting his first field goal until the fourth quarter when Howard was already out of the game.

With the starters playing a first a poor first quarter, it was up to the Magic bench to get the team going. And they were excellent during the decisive quarter – J.J. Redick scored 10 points and Jason Williams scored 6 during the run. Brandon Bass added 8 and Mickael Pietrus hit a three-pointer during the run, giving the bench 27 points during the second period. They finished with 48 points in the game.

Redick scored 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting (he was 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and 6-of-6 from the free throw line). Brandon Bass continued his recent string of strong play. Bass was much more aggressive and played much closer to the hoop. He scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and was 4-of-5 from the charity stripe. Bass was not just more aggressive on the offensive end but he was very aggressive on the glass, too, grabbing 9 rebounds.

Point Guard Jason Williams had a good game off of the bench. In 20 minutes of play, Williams scored 9 points on 4-of-9 shooting, had 2 steals and dished out 4 assists while turning the ball over just once.

Jameer Nelson not only scored 9 points on 8 shots, but he dished out 8 assists and had 2 steals while turning the ball over just twice. Rather than look for his own shot, he did an excellent job of getting his teammates involved. Nelson is at his best when he gets into the paint and makes plays happen, whether it’s setting up a shot for himself or if it’s kicking out a pass to his teammates. That’s exactly what’s Nelson has been doing. His backcourt mate Vince Carter didn’t shoot quite as well as he has lately (8-of-18 from the field), but he was still 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and did not turn the ball over.

Game Notes:

  • Orlando was previously 0-2 against the Wizards this season.
  • Rashard Lewis scored just 3 points on 1-of-4 shooting in just 18 minutes.
  • The Magic still had some turnover issues, giving away the ball 15 times on Saturday, but they really protected the ball better after the first quarter.
  • Orlando (8-of-14) outscored Washington (2-of-9) the Wizards by 18 points from downtown.
  • Orlando outrebounded Washington 46-30.
  • The Magic bench was responsible for 21 of those rebounds.
  • Andray Blatche was very good for the Wizards – he scored 32 points on 14-of-23 shooting, grabbed 4 rebounds and had 4 assists.
  • Former Florida State Forward Al Thornton scored 15 points.

Next Up: The Magic return home to host the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday evening.

Final Thought: The Magic got off to a poor start but they took over in the second quarter and once again easily disposed of an inferior opponent.

(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).