Howard, Anderson Lead Magic To 102-89 Win Over Heat


The Orlando Magic got off to another good start, building a 17-point first half lead before allowing the Miami Heat to cut the lead to three at the break. The Magic came out in the third quarter and played excellent defensively, holding the Heat to just 11 points and pushing their lead to 19 early in the fourth quarter. The Heat made a fourth quarter charge, led by Dwyane Wade, but the Magic made a few timely shots to close out the game, winning 102-89.

“They set the tone from the get-go,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters.

Ryan Anderson had 27 points and 11 rebounds while Dwight Howard scored 25 points and grabbed 24 rebounds for the Magic. Wade led the Heat with 33 points.

Dwight Howard had a monster game. He had a double-double in the first quarter (11 points, 10 rebounds) and recorded his 38th career 20-20 game before the third quarter ended. With Mario Chalmers out and Shane Battier having an off year from beyond the arc so far, the Heat played the majority of the game without a true three-point threat, forcing them into bad shots. Outside of an unbelievable second quarter out of Dwyane Wade (18 points in the period), the Heat couldn’t really slash to the basket like they normally do. They had to rely on fast break to keep them in the game and in the first half and they did a good job of getting out in transition off both turnovers an rebounds, finishing with 16 fast break points. The Magic did, however, hold the Heat to just two fast break points in the second half.

“I thought we were coming up and challenging the ball in the back court way too much,” Van Gundy explained. “Then, in the second half, I thought we did a much better job of getting back.”

Orlando, as they nearly always are when they beat good teams, was excellent from beyond the arc. They hoisted a team-record 42 three-pointers, hitting 17 of them. After the game, Stan Van Gundy estimated that about “35 or 36” of those attempts were good shots. When Miami plays Orlando, they usually try to keep teams out of the paint and use their great athletes to close out on Orlandoo’s shooters. That was the plan again Wednesday night, but as the Magic continued to knock down shots, the Heat defenders started creeping out to the threee-point line, which allowed Howard to go to work inside. Orlando’s ball movement, especially their ability to swing the ball around the perimeter, was the key to their outside shooting success.

The Magic were just 18-of-41 from inside the three-point line (43.9%), so they nearly shot just as well from the outside. Considering half of those field goals came from Howard (9-of-14), the Magic needed almost all of those three-pointers. Usually you’d like to see the Magic attack the paint more, but with Miami’s defensive strategy against Orlando and the way the Magic were shooting the ball, it’s tough to find fault with the way they played offensively.

Ryan Anderson got off to a fantastic start, scoring 24 first half points to go with eight first half rebounds. Anderson was quiet in the second half, scoring just three more points an collecting only three more rebounds, but his presence as the team’s second option allowed his teammates to swing the ball around and hit eight second-half three-pointers.

Jameer Nelson had another rough night shooting the ball, finishing just 5-of-13 from the field, but for the second consecutive game, he looked more comfortable and was in control of the offense. He wound up with 12 points and hit two key shots – a runner and a three-pointer in the fourth quarter to end Miami’s last real run.

  • Whenever you can hold the leaguee’s second-best offensive team to 89 points on an effective field goal percentage of 50.7% and keep them off of the line (the Heat were just 12-of-17 from the charity stripe), you’re doing something right. One of the biggest problems when playing the Heat is keeping James and Wade out of the paint while not fouling and the Magic did a very good job of that Wednesday.
  • The Magic got a little lucky with LeBron James – he had an off night, scoring just 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting. When asked about James’s play, Van Gundy said the Magic didn’t do anything different, there is no game plan to stop guys like James and Wade and if there was they “wouldn’t be who they are.”
  • Hedo Turkoglu had another rough night – he finished with three points on 1-of-6 shooting and grabbed just one rebound. He did dish out seven assists, but he picked up five fouls and played just 28:41.
  • Van Gundy instead went to Quentin Richardson to defend James for awhile and he did pretty good job. He also scored six points on two three-pointers in just over 19 minutes of play.
  • Jason Richardson couldn’t keep up the pace he was on over the last three games, scoring just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting.
  • Van Gundy liked the way the Magic answered the Heat runs, saying “we held our composure and nobody seemed the least bit worried, we just kept making plays.”
  • Van Gundy also said the Magic “dominated the boards” – they out rebounded Miami by 10 behind Anderson and Howard’s combined 35 boards (the rest of the Magic had 23).
  • Van Gundy pointed out one specific play by Howard he loved – “The play that stands out and a play I’ll show the team on Friday is we had a missed shot and then LeBron busted out on the break and he sprinted and back-tipped the ball out of bounds. To me, that kind of play exemplifies what you have to do if you want to beat good teams.”

Next Up: The Magic will host the Atlanta Hawks for the first time this season Friday.

Final Thought: After a heart breaking loss to the Clippers, the Magic bounced back with one of their best wins of the season.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider ( and is the co-host of the Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)