AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Orlando Magic News & Notes: Praise for the Magic

The Orlando Magic overcame a double digit second half deficit against the Boston Celtics for the second time in 10 days, this time winning 96-89.

Josh Robbins called Vince Carter and Dwight Howard’s performances clutch.

It also mattered that Dwight Howard played the entire second half after he sat out most of the first half because of foul trouble. As the team walked into its locker room at halftime, Vince Carter took Howard aside and said, “Take over and dominate.”

Howard responded to the challenge. In the second half, he scored 14 of his 16 points and collected 10 of his 13 rebounds to fuel the Orlando comeback.

Carter played a big role, too. Coming off of perhaps the worst month of his pro career, the embattled shooting guard finished with a game-high 20 points.

You can read that story here.

Kelly Dwyer had nothing but good things to say about the Magic.

Boston looks old. Orlando looks stacked.

It’s not that simple, of course, but how could you not consider the latter end of that take as Jameer Nelson(notes) showed flashes of 2008-09’s All-Star turn, even if he missed a series of open shots and turned the ball over more times than he was credited with an assist? Or with Dwight Howard(notes) overcoming early foul trouble to contribute 16 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks in only 32 minutes? How could you not see the glory when Orlando was hitting on half of its 22 three-point attempts on the road?

And, most importantly, why can’t you get behind a team that has the potential, at least, to defend this well? Boston worked. It tried to work the ball and make Orlando pay for its aggressive footwork. And it didn’t matter. Every angle was covered. Every shot had something distracting it. Those pinstripes were everywhere.

You can read that here.

John Denton provided his postgame analysis.

Orlando delivered its best stretch of offensive basketball of the season in the third quarter –- a shocking 19-0 run — and did just enough in the fourth quarter for a 96-89 defeat of the stunned Celtics.

When Rashard Lewis made a tough runner with zeros on the shot clock and 18 seconds on the game clock, it sent the fans scurrying for the exits and locked up one of Orlando’s biggest victories of the season. Orlando also secured a 3-1 edge in the season series, something that could come in handy for homecourt in the playoffs if the Magic (34-17) and Celtics (32-17) finish tied.

“That was most definitely a statement game for us to show everybody that we’re still a good team,’’ said Lewis, who had 14 points, two 3-pointers and that runner where the degree of difficulty was off the charts. “Even though we make mistakes and lose games we shouldn’t lose sometimes like we did against Washington. But don’t mean we’re not a really good team. There’s no perfect seasons, but that was a really good win for us.’’

You can read that here.
Chris Sheridan says that leaving Dwight Howard in after he picked up his fourth foul was crucial.

Howard had played less than eight minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, scoring just two points. When the fourth foul came, his point total was seven. When it was all said and done, Howard had 16 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks.

“We’ve done that several times,” Van Gundy said, “and to be quite honest with you, it comes down to being this simple: We’re down to begin with, and if he picks up his fifth we’re going to have to deal with it, and I think our chances of winning if he’s limited to 20 minutes or something, we’re going to have a tough time on the road beating the Celtics.

“So, he’s a smart guy anyway, you just sort of gamble that he’s going to do it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But to me it wasn’t even much of a decision today with where we were in that game. My only decision was, late third quarter do you give him a little bit of a break there, but we were playing too well and I was just going to run with it.”

Read that Daily Dime here.

Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston reports that Doc Rivers won’t call the Celtics an elite team.

“One of the guys said, ‘We’re better than Orlando,’ and I said, ‘No you’re not. That’s a bunch of crap,'” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said following the game. “They beat you three games, two at your place. They’re better. They knocked you out of the playoffs last year.

“Orlando’s better than us right now. Atlanta’s better than us right now. [The Los Angeles Lakers are] better than us right now. Those are the teams that have beaten us. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be better than them at some point. But right now, those teams are better than us.”

You can read that story here.

Celtics Hub wonders if there is a crisis in Boston

But there were two teams on the floor today, and you have to give some credit to the Magic. Specifically to Dwight Howard. It is not a coincidence Orlando rallied in the 3rd quarter with Howard finally back on the floor. He completely dominated the interior on defense and had a lot to do with the C’s reliance on jump shots in the 3rd quarter.

You can find that here.

Red’s Army refers to the Celtics as frauds.

The 3rd quarter may have been the worst quarter of basketball I’ve seen by any Celtics team in years. The Cs walked out of the locker room with an 11 point lead (51-40) and put forth the laziest, sloppiest, crappiest effort imaginable.

They were outscored 36-11. Committed 8 turnovers. Shot 4-14 FG with just two assists. Allowed the Magic to make 12 of 17 shots. Gave up a 19-0 run.

Anyone else tired of Doc Rivers saying his team decided to stop moving the ball and playing defense? How about calling timeout after timeout after timeout until the guys start executing? Do something, anything…

You can find that here.

The boo birds were out in Boston.

Now many people may argue to never turn on the team. In my eyes, this is not turning on the team. This is like a coach staring them in the eyes and telling the player that he isn’t giving it all hes got. 99.9% of the people who boo are not going to go home and not watch the Celtics because of their poor performance- thats not how it works. What they do, is they expect more from this team. Fans want to see the effort. When I seen Rasheed Wallace out on the court just going through the motions, that doesn’t impress me, nor anyone else.

You can find more on this here.

Jimmy Toscano says the Magic cast a third quarter spell on the Celtics.

“I thought we played like crap,” Coach Doc Rivers said. “And in the third quarter I thought everything we did in the first half we decided not to do. And I told them when I called a time out, ‘We’re doing our own thing; we’re going to lose the game.’ I thought we lacked discipline.”

“There’s no excuses for that,” said Kevin Garnett. “There’s no answers for that and we just got to lock in. For some reason, third quarters have been kicking our behinds this year. We just got to get better at it, period.”

You can read that here.

Th Magic don’t have any time to celebrate because they must host the New Orleans Hornets on Monday night. You can read about that game here.

The city of New Orleans is abuzz because of the Saints’ Super Bowl victory but there has been some chatter in Orlando because of Dwight Howard’s Super Bowl commercial with LeBron James. Click here to watch it.

Vince Carter says he will be a “new me” in February. Sunday was a good start.

After one of the worst months of his career, Vince Carter promised his Orlando Magic teammates that he would improve in February.

He made good on that pledge during Sunday’s 96-89 road win over the Boston Celtics.

Carter scored a game-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting. The performance contrasted sharply with a horrid January in which he made just 28.4 percent of his shots.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Carter said in the Magic locker room after the game. “I told the guys coming into this month. I said, ‘It’s a new me.’ ”

Carter also excelled in Orlando’s 83-78 win in Boston on Nov. 20, scoring 26 points in that game.

“It’s a nice place to shoot,” Carter said smiling. “I’ll say that.”

You can read that and other Magic notes here.

Dwight Howard updated his blog.

Something else for ya’ll to watch out for: Adidas is gonna send me to South Africa this summer to cover the World Cup as a member of the media. They want their basketball guys interviewing soccer players and mixing and matching the sports. I think it will be a lots of fun, but I’ve got to do a lot of research because I don’t know the first thing about soccer, ya’ll?

A fan at our game on Friday night gave me an autographed jersey from Brazil’s soccer team, but I don’t have a clue who it is. I still put it up on my wall of fame with all of the other jerseys that I have.

Read Dwight’s blog here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

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