Magic Dominate Glass, Beat Up On 76ers


After a tough loss to the Chicago Bulls Sunday, the Orlando Magic bounced back with a 95-85 road victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Dwight Howard had 19 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals for the Magic while Elton Brand led the 76ers with 22 points.

The Orlando Magic got off to an outstanding start shooting-wise. They went 13-of-20 from the field (65.0%) and 6-of-7 from beyond the arc (85.7%). They also grabbed 17 rebounds to Philadelphia’s two. It looked like a recipe for a blowout but the Magic allowed the 76ers to stay within nine (34-25) because of their seven turnovers.

Orlando’s second unit did a very poor job in the second quarter and allowed Philadelphia to lose a 14-0 run to tie the game at 43. The Magic scored just 16 points on 6-of-22 shooting (27.2%) from the field and 2-of-6 shooting (33.3%) from beyond the arc). The Bulls didn’t shoot all that well either (7-of-15 from the field) but they did enough to be within three at the half.

After Philadelphia briefly took a 54-52 third quarter lead on a Jrue Holiday three-pointer, the Magic went on a 33-10 run to push their lead back to 21 and virtually end any chance of a 76ers comeback. They held Philadelphia to just 15 points on 7-of-26 (26.9%) shooting in the quarter. Late in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia made the score look closer but they were never in the game.

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

After the game, head coach Stan Van Gundy seemed pleased with Orlando’s effort for the second straight game, saying they “raised the intensity level a little bit.” Although the Magic had a few lulls on both ends of the court and again had turnover problems, Van Gundy is right. The Magic looked ready to play in what was a rather meaningless game for the second straight day. They’re playing better – and harder – as they head into the postseason.

Clearly, Orlando has a better team than Philadelphia, especially with them missing Andre Iguodala, but there are a few reasons Orlando had such an easy time in the game (outside of a stretch during the second and third quarters). The Magic absolutely dominated the boards, grabbing 56 rebounds to Philadelphia’s 31 (64.6% of all available rebounds). Ryan Anderson and Dwight Howard combined for 27 boards alone.

The Magic also shot lights out from beyond the three-point line. Sure, they made just five of their last 18 three-pointers of a 6-of-7 start but they still outscore the Sixers 33-15 from beyond the arc. Jameer Nelson made five three-pointers himself.

Of course, there were some negatives. Orlando turned the ball over 16 times. Seven of those came in the first quarter, so they really cleaned things up after the opening quarter. They also continued to shoot poorly from the charity stripe, hitting just 66.6% of their free throws (14-of-21). Dwight Howard went 7-of-9 (77.8%) so he was certainly not to blame.

Speaking of Howard, he didn’t shoot well (6-of-13 from the field) and had trouble around the rim, missing a few close range shots he should make and turning the ball over four times, but he made up for it the free throw shooting mentioned above and his usual dominance on the glass and on the defensive end.

Ryan Anderson had another huge night. Just one day after arguably the best game of his career, Anderson scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and had 14 rebounds, seven on each end. Anderson is one of the league’s most underrated rebounders. He crashed the glass very well and took advantage of all of the attention the 76ers had to pay to Dwight Howard.

Jameer Nelson had an up-and-down game. He was fantastic shooting, especially from beyond the arc but he made some stupid turnovers and tried to make some plays that no point guard in the league could make. A few times, he got into the lane, went up into the air and had absolutely no idea what to do with the ball once he got there. After the opening quarter, he calmed down and finished with a nice line – 19 points and seven assists.

Orlando’s starting forwards struggled to score much again (a combined 15 points on 7-of-17 shooting) but Anderson and Orlando’s backcourt made up them, scoring-wise.

Click here to see Dwight Howard’s huge dunk over Jrue Holiday and the 76ers.

Next Up: The Magic will host the Indiana Pacers in their regular season finale Wednesday night at 8:00 pm EST.

Final Thought: Van Gundy said the Magic “got some things accomplished” and “approached these games well.” That’s good news for a team who will start postseason play this weekend.

(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).