The Orlando Magic finally got it together on offense, putting up 57 first-half points and 105 in the game. Unfortunately for the Magic, their defense fell apart, allowing the Jazz to score 117 points and post an effective field goal percentage 60.5%. The Magic played a lackluster third quarter that saw them post just 15 points, which allowed the Jazz to extend their lead to 10. During the quarter, Orlando was able to cut the lead to just four, 71-67, but the Jazz answered with an 11-2 run. J.J. Redick cut the lead to nine on Orlando’s first possession of the fourth quarter and they cut the lead to seen with just under three minutes to in the period but the Jazz quickly pushed their led back to 11 to close the Magic out. Deron Williams was fantastic for the Jazz, scoring 32 points and dishing out 9 assists while Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 19 points and 10 assists.
It seemed like the Jazz decided they were going to take turns carving up the Magic defense Friday night. Paul Millsap scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half, Deron Williams scored 16 of his 32 in the third quarter while C.J. put up 19 of his 26 points in the final period.
- The player of the game was Deron Williams. With the Jazz clinging to a one-point halftime lead, Williams absolutely took over the third quarter. After the game, Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said Williams took over the game and “dominated us.” He scored 16 third quarter points on 4-of-7 shooting, was 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, 5-of-5 from the line and dished out 3 assists. An incredible performance from an incredible player.
- The Jazz were extremely efficient in the game and went 10-o-16 from beyond the arc. The Magic hit nine 3-pointers but they needed 25 attempts to do it. It seemed like every time the Magic threatened to get back into the game, the Jazz hit a timely 3-pointer.
- Van Gundy decided to start Brandon Bass at the Four and he got mixed returns. Bass was good on the offensive end, scoring 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting. He made a few of his patented jump shots and even had a rim-rocking put back dunk that brought the Magic bench to their feet. He really struggled on the defensive end and was dominated by Paul Millsap in the first half. Millsap scored 20 first half points and was often times wide open under the basket.
- Dwight Howard had an extremely rough night, scoring just 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting. He was 4-of-7 from the charity stripe and grabbed 12 rebounds. Howard didn’t have his best game but credit must be given to Al Jefferson. Jefferson is often criticized for his defense but he did a fantastic job and really frustrated Howard.
- Andrei Kirilenko scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting to go with 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. while C.J. Miles scored 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting. When you’re getting performances like that out of your role players, you’re going to be tough to beat.
- Jameer Nelson had good numbers and did a good job of getting to the free throw line but shot just 5-of-16 from the field, making Orlando’s two best players (Nelson and Howard) a combined 10-of-31 from the field (32.3%).
- Vince Carter looked like he had a big mismatch with Gordon Hayward on him and although he had an efficient night (17 points on 6-of-9 shooting), it seemed like he could have done even more. Of course Carter played just 28 minutes because J.J. Redick was just as good, scoring 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
Next Up: The Magic will be in Los Angeles to play the Clippers Sunday night.
Final Thought: It’s tough to figure out this Magic team. They posted one of their best offensive nights of the season but fell apart on defense Friday night.
(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).