Magic Dominate Fourth Quarter, Take Down Clippers


After trailing for about two-thirds of the game, the Magic turned it around in the third quarter and held off the Clippers in the fourth quarter en route to a 101-85 win.

The Magic clamped down defensively to start the game and took an early lead. They didn’t quite keep up the intensity and allowed the Clippers to take a four-point lead into the half. Orlando’s defense played well in the third quarter, limiting the Clippers to just 19 third quarter points to take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Magic heated up in the final period, using a 12-0 run to break a 70-70 tie and never looked back.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 22 points and 20 rebounds while Baron Davis scored 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

You can read more thoughts and observations from the game after the jump.

After the game, Stan Van Gundy was quite pleased with the effort the Magic gave.

“Some of the big things were our energy and pace,” Van Gundy said. “25 fast break points, that was a big point of emphasis today, to start to run the ball more.”

“When I see 25 fast break points and 23 second chance points, I know we played hard and with good energy,” he added.

The Magic’s decision to run really paid off in the second half. They scored 24 third quarter points and 35 fourth quarter points to turn what was a very close game most of the way into a 16-point victory.

Blake Griffin got all of the talk entering the game Tuesday and although he’s very deserving of it, he’s still got a ways to go before he is in a league with Howard. Howard was incredible again, finishing the game with 22 points (7-of-13 from the field, 8-of-14 from the free throw line) and 20 rebounds.

Ryan Anderson didn’t have his shot Tuesday night (4-of-15 from the field, 3-of-9 from beyond the arc, but he did as good of a job on Blake Griffin as anyone could ask for. In fact, the entire Magic team did an excellent job.

“I thought we did a great job on Blake Griffin,” Van Gundy explained. “Team defense, our guys on him, Ryan (Anderson) and Earl (Clark) did a very good disciplined job and we did not miss our helps and our double teams on him. And, I thought they were the hardest double teams we’ve had in a long time.”

“So we didn’t give him chances, he got the one spinout lob, but we didn’t give him chances to get on the highlight reel a lot tonight.”

The Magic forced Griffin into jumpers. Those are shots he’s capable of making but much like with the LeBron James Thursday night, you’d much rather have Griffin out there taking shots like that.

Jameer Nelson was extremely efficient at the point guard spot. He scored 17 points on just nine attempts despite going just 3-of-6 from the free throw line. He was 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Hedo Turkoglu still needs to be more aggressive and still can’t find his shot (five points on 2-of-7 shooting) but filled up the stat sheet, grabbing eight points and dishing out seven assists. There will be nights where Turkoglu is going to need to provide the Magic with scoring but for the most part, he just needs to make smart, sound decisions. He did that for the most part Tuesday night.

Post game Videos:

Gilbert Arenas

Ryan Anderson

Earl Clark

Blake Griffin and Vinny Del Negro

Next Up: The Magic will be in Philadelphia to play the 76ers Wednesday night.

Final Thought: The Magic defense has looked better over the last few games.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger 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).