The Orlando Magic rolled to their 5th straight victory Thursday night and closed out 2010 in style with a 112-103 victory over the New York Knicks.
The Magic were keyed by a huge second quarter where they scored 40 points and led at halftime by 18. The Knicks would come out strong after halftime and a combination of Mike D’Antoni adjustments and low energy from the Magic allowed the Knicks back into the game. Despite the Magic lead being cut to only 2 points late in the 4th quarter, the Magic would persevere thanks to clutch shooting from Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu as well as aggressive team defense.
The anticipated matchup of Dwight Howard vs Amare Stoudemire did not disappoint either. Both players were battling with each other all night and that included several hard fouls and a technical foul for each. For Dwight it was his 12th technical foul which puts him only 4 away from a one game suspension. By the way, that tech on Dwight? It was for him yelling at himself for missing a play. He yelled, “damn”. Technical foul worthy? I don’t think so.
After his emotions cooled down after the first quarter, Dwight would finish the game with 24 points and 18 rebounds. Amare finished with 30 points but would only play 31 minutes due to foul trouble. The Knicks struggled mightily with Amare not on the floor.
The player of the game for the Magic was Hedo Turkoglu. He finished the game with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists and when he was in the game, good things happened. Tonight he combined the typical bad Hedo fadeaway three-pointers with aggressive drives to the basket which either led to layups, free throws or a drive and kick for his teammates. I don’t know what it is about Orlando for Hedo, but he seems reborn again. Ball.
- J.J. Redick led the Magic guards in floor time tonight with almost 36 minutes. He finished the game with 14 points and made smart decisions with the ball. I asked Stan after the game if there was a specific reason why tonight J.J. got the most court time out of the 4 guards and he said that he just feels most comfortable with him on the floor. He takes care of the ball, plays solid team defense and creates for himself and his teammates. It would be nice if some of the national media would pay more attention to Redick and realize that he is NOT a trade piece that should or will be used to get a washed up backup post player such as Marcus Camby.
- Wilson Chandler had a season high 29 points for the Knicks and shot the ball extremely well. Unfortunately for him, he would often get stuck trying to defend Dwight Howard and that same success did not transfer over to the defensive side of the ball.
- Mike D’Antoni on the Dwight v Amare battle: “They both went after it and there’s always going to be hissy fits out there because they’re fighting out there. That’s just how it is. I think they are a great matchup because those are two of the biggest men in this business.”
- Gilbert Arenas continues to play well of the bench for the Magic as well. He scored 10 points in 20 minutes but most importantly he is distributing the ball effectively. He finished the game with 6 assists and is averaging 5.4 assists off the bench since coming to Orlando.
The Magic will finally get some much needed practice time together and will practice 2 of the next 3 days before their next game on Monday against Golden State (home).
Brian Serra is the Vice President of Failed Wi-Fi for Howard the Dunk and the founder of MagicBasketballOnline.com. You can follow/add him on Twitter and on Facebook. Compare pricing and find the cheapest tickets for all future Orlando Magic games using TiqIQ technology!