The Orlando Magic had no problem defeating the Robin Lopez-less and more importantly Steve Nash-less Phoenix Suns Thursday night.
The Magic used an extremely balanced offensive effort and a staunch defensive performance to crush the Steve Nash-less Suns, 105-89, on Thursday night in front of a national TV audience for their third straight victory.
“I think everybody was going offensively,” Magic forward Rashard Lewis explained. “We did a great job of putting the game away early. It was a total team effort tonight.”
All five starters scored in double figures for Orlando led by a 20-point, 12-rebound effort from Dwight Howard. The All-NBA center efficiently scored in nearly every way imaginable against Phoenix as he continued to knock down face-up jumpers, while also ferociously finishing around the rim.
Dan Savage and Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com have that story here.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel makes it simple; the Suns were tired and beat up while the Magic were fresh.
Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post found a few negatives.
From the Magic’s perspective, perhaps their own turnovers and spotty bench play are the only negatives. The reserves shot 9-of-30 from the floor for 29 points, with Mickael Pietrus accounting for 4 field goals and 10 points himself. Chris Duhon turned the ball over 5 times in 20 minutes. Brandon Bass and Marcin Gortat at least managed to grab 11 boards, and some tough bounces partially explains their poor shooting. Still, Orlando’s bench has enough raw talent that it should have steamrolled Phoenix’s with relative ease. Earl Clark, whose fourth-year contract option the Suns did not see fit to exercise this summer, added 12 points and 6 boards in 16 minutes. Players of his caliber ought not perform so well against Orlando, blowout or not.
You can read his recap here.
Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel says it’s time to move on from the Hedo Turkoglu and Grant Hill sagas and says Grant Hill still has “it,” as evidenced by his big game Thursday night.
Speaking of Turkoglu, he has a funny way of trash talking, reports Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel.
Robbins has more about Dwight Howard and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Howard spent just three days with Olajuwon back in June. Although Howard did work out on the court under Olajuwon’s supervision, Howard maintains that those sessions inspired him to open up his game.
“The work that I put in after I saw him was what’s helped me out,” Howard said. “This summer, I spent countless hours in the gym, making a thousand shots a day. Stuff like that, it helps with your confidence.
“I just don’t think it was that one thing [of working with Olajuwon] that has helped me become a better offensive player, because if you go work with Hakeem for three days, you’re still going to be you. But if you go in and you put in the work yourself, and you do that religiously, that’s going to make you better.”
Olajuwon also seems to have given Howard a more scientific approach to breaking down opponents.
You can read that story here.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com) and ESPN 1080′s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.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).