Magic Bounce Back, Beat Timberwolves


The Orlando Magic got off to a very poor start on the defensive end, allowing the Timberwolves to shoot 56.0% in the first quarter and 51.1% from the field in the first half. Orlando buckled down in the second half only allowing the Timberwolves to shoot 15-of-41 from the field in the second half to come away with a 106-97 victory. Dwight Howard led the way with 24 points, 19 rebounds and 4 blocks while Ryan Anderson was surprisingly thrown back into the rotation and took avantage, scoring 19 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Al Jefferson led the Timberwolves with 18 points and 13 rebounds.



NBA Stats

Orlando, who played poor defense (59 points, 51.1% field percentage) and careless offense (10 turnovers) in the first half, played much better in the second half. Orlando didn’t give a great effort in the first half, but Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy thought that their effort improved in the second half.

“I thought the second half we made a much better effort defensively,” Van Gundy told reporters.

Ryan Anderson, who was inserted into the game with 1:38 remaining in the second quarter, played one of his best games of the season.

“No, not a hunch,” Van Gundy said. “I was sort of kicking myself the other night after the Atlanta game because he’s had good practices lately.

Anderson made the most of his opportunity. He scored scored 19 points on 6-of-16 shootingand hit three of his nine three point attempts. Anderson did miss 10 shots, but he didn’t take many bad shots. He put the ball on the floor and tried to get to the basket. Unfortunately, on one occasion, Anderson did not go to the basket strong enough and lost the ball. Anderson helped Orlando, who had good ball movement, make the extra pass and find open shooters (Orlando made 13 three-pointers). Anderson also did the little things – he broke up passes, he blocked the shot of one of the league’s better young players (Kevin Love) and hustled throughout the game.

“He didn’t shoot the ball very well,” Van Gundy said. “But nine rebounds and very active, I thought he played pretty good defense. I just thought he
helped us. A lot.”

Dwight Howard, as usual, was a monster. Howard only attempted seven shots but he made seven of them and got to the free throw line 16 times, hitting 12. Howard was a beast on the boards, grabbing 19 rebounds and was his normal dominating self on the defensive end, blocking four shots.

“I thought Dwight was tremendous on both ends of the floor,” Van Gundy said.

J.J. Redick was also very effective. He scored 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting and at one point in the fourth hit three-pointers on consecutive possesions to break the game open, turning a nine-point Magic lead into an 88-73 advantage. Redick was active and brought the crowd to their feet when he dove for and recovered a loose ball in the second half.

Vince Carter was quietly effecitve. He scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and dished out five assists. Van Gundy called Carter’s performance “solid.”

Game Notes:

  • Minnesota lost their 15th consecutive game.
  • Dwight Howard collected his 57th double-double.
  • It was also Howard’s 82nd career 20-point, 15-rebound game.
  • Former Magic Center Darko Milicic attempted a career high 16 shots, but only managed 14 points on those 16 shots.
  • Why Milicic gets minutes over Kevin Love should be one of the NBA’s biggest mysteries.
  • Orlando had six players in double figures (Howard 24, Anderson 19, Redick 14, Carter 13, Barnes 11 and Lewis 10).
  • Jameer Nelson only had three points, but dished out seven assists and turned the ball over just once.

Next Up: The Magic will play host to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday evening.

Final Thought: It was good for the Magic to get a victory after suffering a heartbreaing defeat on Wednesday.

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