Magic Destroy Timberwolves 128-86


After getting off to a sluggish start in the first four minutes of the game (and trailing 10-4), the Orlando Magic absolutely dominated the Minnesota Timberwolves, winning 128-86.

  • After picking up two quick personal fouls and a technical foul, Dwight Howard exited the game at the 10:04 mark in the first quarter and played just 23 minutes. Usually that’s a recipe for disaster and a frustrating night for Howard but instead, he made the most of his minutes, scoring 18 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking 8 shots, including 6 in the third quarter alone. Howard absolutely owned the paint when he was in the game, making in nearly impossible for the T-Wolves to get anything even resembling a good look in the lane.
  • Howard could have gone back in the game in the fourth quarter to make a run at a triple double but he said “it would have been stupid for me to go back out there and play” with such a big lead.
  • Ryan Anderson made a bit of a surprising start at Power Forward. Rashard Lewis slid to the Three while Quentin Richardson moved to the bench. Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy praised Richardson’s professionalism and desire to win because he had no qualms with moving to the bench. Richardson finished with 9 points and 8 boards.
  • Mickael Pietrus is the played that paid the price for the lineup shuffle. He only played the last 3:25 of the game and did not score.
  • Van Gundy said he went with Anderson because of the size of the T-Wolves. As I noted earlier, Minnesota Power Forward Kevin Love is one of the league’s elite rebounders.  Van Gundy noted that he may continue to switch his squad’s lineups around depending on the opponent, citing the fact that he wants to make sure he gets the most out of his deep, talented roster.
  • Anderson took advantage of his opportunity, scoring 19 points in 19 minutes. If you wanted to argue there was a series of plays that turned this game around (which is hard to do since Orlando won the contest by 42 points), it came in the first quarter when Anderson made three consecutive 3-pointers to turn a 10-6 Minnesota lead into a 15-12 Magic advantage. During the same span, Anderson also had two blocked shots and a board, showing off his versatile game.
  • Like Anderson, Brandon Bass continued to impress. Bass scored 19 points on 7 shots in 24 minutes – you don’t get much more efficient than that. Besides shooting 6-of-7 from the field, Bass made an effort to get himself to the free throw line and went 7-of-7 from the stripe.
  • Marcin Gortat also continued the trend of Orlando’s big men dominance, finishing with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting and 7 rebounds.
  • Rashard Lewis struggled again, showing just 4-of-13 from the floor. Lewis did grab 6 rebounds, which is a good sign, but the Magic aren’t going anywhere without Lewis looking more like the Lewis of two seasons ago.
  • Vince Carter bounced back from his injury by scoring 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting. He made good decisions and dished out 7 assists and grabbed 4 rebounds. This is the kind of Carter the Magic need every night.
  • Orlando finished the game with 27 assists on 46 field goals while the Timberwolves finished with just 28 field goals. Jameer Nelson had a game-high 9 assists.
  • J.J. Redick hit his first 3-pointer of the season in the second quarter.
  • Keep in mind, Minnesota was coming off of a game against the Heat in Miami Tuesday night and was without Michael Beasley (hip) and without Jonny Flynn, who is trying to come back from a torn labral in his left hip.
  • Orlando’s 78 first half points was a franchise record.

Next Up: The Magic will host the New Jersey Nets Friday night.

Final Thought: Rashard Lewis said he felt sorry for the team that would have to play the Magic after their blowout loss to the Heat. Looks like he was right.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page, and co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days ( Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).