After getting off to another slow start, the Orlando Magic rallied from a 13-point first quarter deficit to defeat the Atlanta Hawks.
- Dwight Howard was great. I know this is getting repetitive but when Howard is playing at the level he is right now, it can’t be stated enough. Howard scored 27 points and although it took him 20 shots to get those 27 points (10-of-20 from the field, 7-of-11 from the line), it’s great to see Howard being so aggressive, demanding the ball and showing off a much larger repertoire of interior post moves than anyone thought he had. Howard got into foul trouble, but avoided fouling out and wound playing 34 minutes. He also added 11 rebounds and a block.
- Vince Carter was not without his struggles but he did exactly what the Magic have asked him to do down the stretch in games. Carter scored 5 points in the final 1:12 of the game, including two driving layups. He finished the game with an efficient line of 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
- Ryan Anderson started his third game of the season but for the most part, was ineffective. He scored just 4 points on 1-of-5 shooting and grabbed just 1 rebound. Not all of Anderson’s shots were bad shots either – he just missed a couple of outside shots that he usually makes.
- The Magic bench was fantastic and really picked the team up after they fell behind 19-6 and 23-10 in the early going, helping the Magic to end the first quarter on an 11-0 run, cutting the lead to 23-21.
- Chris Duhon started the game at point guard and according to Stan Van Gundy, he played pretty well. Yet it was Jason Williams who finished the game. Williams finished with 8 points on 3-of-5 shooting, hit both of his 3-point attempts, dished out 2 assists, recorded 2 steals and surprisingly grabbed8 rebounds. Most of his boards were “right time, right place” rebounds but it’s an impressive number nonetheless. Williams also had several “hustle plays,” including a couple of dives after loose balls.
- Marcin Gortat wouldn’t be outdone by Williams’ numbers or hustle. Gortat scored 8 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and had a dive across the court of his own, prompting Dwight Howard to say, “To see a seven-footer dive, I don’t think you guys know how hard it is to get to the ground quick enough to get the ball before some little guard get it. To see that, it takes a lot. It got the crowd pumped, it got us pumped, that’s the kind of stuff we need.”
- Gortat also spent some time at the 4. Van Gundy chose to leave him in when he brought Howard back into the game in the second half because of Gortat’s first half play.
- Mickael Pietrus was the odd man out again. He didn’t play in Monday night’s game and afterwards, rather than coming straight back to the locker room and quickly packing up, he hit the practice court.
- The game featured 12 lead changes and 8 ties.
Next Up: The Magic will host the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
Final Thought: Although the Magic played poorly at times, they remain an absolute nightmare for the Hawks.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page, and co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.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).