Magic Beat The Heat 104-95


The Orlando Magic pleased their loudest and best crowd of the season with a 104-95 victory over the Miami Heat. The Magic had the lead for a majority of the game before seeing the Heat take a one-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter. The Magic quickly regrouped and outscored Miami 17-7 over the final 5:22 of the game. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 24 points and 18 rebounds while Jameer Nelson added 17 points and a career-high 14 assists.

  • It was all about the pick-and-roll for the Magic. They ran it to death against the Heat and for the most part, it worked.
  • “We did a great job of setting screens, waiting for them to be set and then taking what the defense gave us” Jameer Nelson said. “And that was to get into the paint and make plays. We still had some turnovers but for the most part, we made good decisions and made the right play.”
  • Exploiting the Heat’s weaknesses at the 1 and 5 was something that was imperative for the Magic if they were going to win this game and they did just that. Jameer Nelson took over the first quarter, dishing out half of his 14 assists in the opening period. Nelson brought the crowd to his feet on consecutive possessions with brilliant no-look passes to Brandon Bass, who was able to finish each play. Jameer Nelson took pride in playing a more intelligent game but made sure to note that getting himself ejected late in the game “wasn’t too smart.”
  • Despite Nelson’s ejection, Head Coach Stan Van Gundy praised his point guard – “Other than the turnovers, he was playing great. He had a career high in assists and made some great plays down the stretch.”
  • Howard was just as good, if not better. He scored 24 points on just 13 shots and grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds. Howard did a nice job of shutting down the paint against the two plays who probably get to the basket better than any others in basketball in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Van Gundy called Howard’s play “tremendous” and was surprised his big man was able to go through an entire game without committing a foul.
  • J.J. Redick filled in for the injured Vince Carter and played very well. Redick scored 20 points on just 12 shots, including 3 3-pointers and did work in other aspects of the game as well. He grabbed 4 rebounds and showed off his skills as a playmaker, dishing out 5 assists. Nelson praised Redick’s work as a playmaker, calling him a “great passer” and said his shooting ability really opens up his ability to be a playmaker.
  • Brandon Bass provided a great spark for the Magic in the first half and finished the game with 18 points and 6 rebounds in just under 26 minutes.  Van Gundy said Bass had a “huge night” and “really carried us in the first half”
  • Rashard Lewis seems to be regaining his stroke. He scored 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, which included two timely shots lat in the fourth quarter.
  • It was the first time Howard didn’t commit a foul since April 1, 2010 when he scored 17 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in Dallas.
  • Five Magic players (Howard 24, Redick 20, Bass 18, Nelson 17 and Lewis 14) scored in double figures.
  • You can tell the Heat just haven’t figured out how to play with each other. James and Wade seemingly played better when the other wasn’t on the court

Next Up: The Magic will host the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday.

Final Thought: It was a great victory for the Magic but this Heat team has some real problems right now.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days ( and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider ( 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).