LeBron James was incredible, hitting nearly every shot he took en route to a 51-point night, leading the Heat to a v..."/> LeBron James was incredible, hitting nearly every shot he took en route to a 51-point night, leading the Heat to a v..."/>

LeBron Scores 51, Miami Stops Orlando’s Comeback Short


LeBron James was incredible, hitting nearly every shot he took en route to a 51-point night, leading the Heat to a victory over the Magic. Orlando hung around for a majority of the game by playing fairly good defense but Miami’s decisive 9-0 run to end the third quarter, pushing their lead to 16 that seemed to end any chance of a Magic comeback.

It looked like the Heat would cruise to victory as they stretched their lead to 23 early in the fourth quarter, but the Magic fought back, cutting the lead to just three with just 9.4 seconds to go on a Jameer Nelson three-pointer. LeBron James then lost the inbounds pass off his leg and the Magic had a chance to tie but Ryan Anderson’s three-pointer wouldn’t go down and Dwyane Wade hit a free throw to clinch the game, giving Miami a 104-100 win.

Jameer Nelson had 22 points and six assists to lead the Magic.

James added 11 rebounds and eight assists to go with his 51 points.

After the jump, you can more thoughts and observations from the game.

Orlando’s probably going to get blasted and their loss is probably going to overblown because they played Miami in a nationally televised game but they showed some improvement on the defense. Yes, there were breakdowns and the Magic gave up some wide open three-pointers in the second half but the Heat got off to good started based on LeBron James hitting 18-footers that were for the most part contested. Players just don’t make shots like that kind of clip. I’m sure Orlando would be perfectly fine with letting James take shots like that rather than drive to the hole. Still, James is already one of the all-time greats and players like him can get into a zone like that offensively.

“LeBron obviously had an unbelievable night and he made all of his jump shots,” Van Gundy explained. “His numbers say he’s a pretty mediocre jump shooter and tonight he was a great jump shooter.”

“We did a good job of keeping him out of the paint,” Van Gundy added.

Dwight Howard agreed with Van Gundy.

“Other than hitting too many jump shots, we did fine,” Howard said.

Jameer Nelson got into a bit of a groove, drawing fouls and hitting some big shots to get the Magic back into the game. He finished with 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting and went a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line. He also grabbed six rebound and six assists. His backup, Gilbert Arenas, was more aggressive and played better but still couldn’t get shots to go down.

Howard was good, as usual. He scored points and grabbed rebounds but got no help from his teammates. Orlando’s offense couldn’t get anything going before Nelson got on a roll in the fourth quarter. They didn’t get their second bucket until the 7:58 mark in the first quarter.

It was good to see the Magic get back into the game and fight until the very end.

Nelson said the difference between the last six minutes and the rest of the game was simple.

“We got stops and made shots.”

Orlando could have possibly stayed in the game if it wasn’t for their abysmal free throw shooting. Dwight Howard was 3-of-13 from the line and the Magic went 16-of-31 as a team. Both Ryan Anderson and Gilbert Arenas had empty trips to the line in the second half.

Postgame Video:

Ryan Anderson

Gilbert Arenas

Dwight Howard

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Eric Spoelstra

Next Up: There’s no time to worry about this one; the Magic will be in Washington to take on the Wizards Friday night.

Final Thought: I still think the Magic are not a contender at this moment but the reactions to this one game will be way overblown.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). 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).