The Orlando Magic didn’t play particular well Sunday night. In fact, they played pretty poorly, but because they were playing the league’ worst team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, they still came away with a relatively easy win. The Magic id the Cavs go on a couple of runs and even let them cut the lead to single digits early in the third quarter but they were never really in danger of losing the game. They wound up with a 103-87 victory.
Dwight Howard had another huge game, finishing with 20 points and 20 rebounds while Ryan Anderson had 23 points and 16 rebounds.
Rookie Manny Harris led the Cavaliers with 20 points.
You can find more thoughts and observations from the game (and postgame) after the jump.
- Howard looked like he was playing against competition a level below him because well, he was. Howard had 20 points and 20 rebounds by the end of the third quarter and probably could have come close to a 30-30 game if the game didn’t get out of hand in the second half. He finished with 20 points and 20 rebounds because he wasn’t needed in the final quarter. Howard has clearly on a higher level right now than he has been at any other point in his career.
- Ryan Anderson had a career-high 23 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, including nine on the offensive glass. Clearly, some of Anderson’s numbers came during garbage time (16 fourth quarter points) but his improvement cannot be questioned. Anderson put up 16 shots, three more than any other Magic player but was still efficient, mostly due to going 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Anderson also did a nice job on the defensive end, doing battle with Antawn Jamison. Jamison, who was matched up against Anderson and Brandon Bass, had just seven points on 2-of-11 shooting.
- Speaking of Bass, he has been struggling on the offensive end as of late and went 3-of-13 from the field Sunday night. After the game, Van Gundy said he thought it might be the worst offensive stretch of Bass’ career but did praise the way he defended.
- Gilbert Arenas missed the game with a knee contusion and is listed as day-to-day. Chris Duhon manned the second unit. Jameer Nelson had a poor shooting day, going just 3-of-11 from the field.
- It wasn’t just Nelson and Bass. Outside of Howard (9-of-13), Anderson (8-of-16) and J.J. Redick (17 points on 6-of-10 shooting), who shot 59.0% from the field, the team was only 15-of-53 from the field (28.3%). The team also shot just 29.0% from beyond the arc despite Anderson and Redick combining to hit 50% of their attempts (Anderson was 5-of-10, Redick was 2-of-4).
- Turnovers were an issue again – the Magic committed 19.
- Van Gundy was also very upset with the way Orlando got back defensively, saying that championships teams run back. He was however, happy with Orlando’s defense in the half court, singling out Bass and Anderson’s play.
- The ball movement wasn’t very good and it was looking fantastic just a few weeks ago. Some of that has to do with the absence of Arenas and a lot of has to do with Hedo Turkoglu’s recent poor play (he had nine points on 4-of-11 shooting, six rebounds and six assists Sunday night).
- The Magic are now 16-9 in back-to-back games, going 9-4 on the first night and 7-5 on the second night.
- Click here to see postgame video from Jason Richardson and click here to see what Ryan Anderson had to say after the game.
Next Up: The Magic will travel to Memphis to play the Grizzlies Monday night.
Final Thought: The Magic didn’t play well but still got a 16-point win. That’s how bad Cleveland is.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger 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).