The Orlando Magic played their best basketball late in the game, pulling away from the Houston Rockets in the fourth quarter to earn a 104-95 win.
Hedo Turkoglu led the Magic with 23 points while Kyle Lowry had 20 points and 12 assists for the Rockets.
- The Magic came out with good energy and immediately tried to get Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu going in the post. Due to their match ups, it looked like a good idea. Richardson had his first shot shot blocked while Turkoglu hit a tough layup.
- After a couple of missed jumpers, the Magic went back to their normal plan of feeding Dwight Howard. The big man dominated the first quarter, scoring 10 of Orlando’s 27 first quarter points. Although Samuel Dalembert played better than anyone expected, the Rockets don’t have nearly enough size to even slow Howard. Howard finished with 21 points and 6 rebounds.
- After the game, Van Gundy praised Howard’s play and was especially impressed that he has played over 75 minutes in the first two games.
- With all of the criticism Chris Duhon has received lately (and rightfully so), he deserves a little love after his performance Monday. He was aggressive, often taking the ball to the hoop. Although he had some trouble finishing, making just one of his three layup attempts, he actually sucked defenders in and got his teammates good looks. Duhon finished with 5 points and 2 assists.
- J.J. Redick had an excellent game, especially on offense. There aren,t many players in the league that cut to the basket as well as he does. He made one of the better ones of his carreer when he finished a layup just before halftime off of a perfect pass from Jameer Nelson. Its only been two games so I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but the offense seems to run much better with Redick in the game than with Jason Richardson in. Redick had 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
- To be fair to J-Rich, he had a much better game against the Rockets. With his shot still not falling, Richardson chose to go inside and it paid off. He attempted just one three pointer, but still managed to go 5-of-7 from the field and score 12 points.
- Redick was the only bench player who was productive. After a dismal outing Sunday, the Magic bench poured in 40 points. Van Gundy specifically pointed out the performance of Glen Davis, saying Big Baby gave them “a big lift when they were fighting for the lead.” Davis finished with 13 points.
- Hedo Turkoglu’s shot selection was much better Monday. He tried to get into the paint on a several occasions, either finishing or creating chances for his teammates. He made better decisions and hit one of the biggest shots of the game, a three-pointer that pushed Orlando’s lead to seven with just over five minutes remaining. Turkoglu finished with 23 points on 14 shots, grabbed 6 boards and dished out 4 assists.
- After the game, Van Gundy told the media “there’s no reason he can’t play like that (all the time).”
- As a whole, Orlando’s numbers were great. They posted an effective field goal percentage of 59.6% and made 9 of their 22 three-point attempts.
- Van Gundy employed a three guard lineup at one point, using J.J. Redick and Von Wafer as his wings. Van Gundy said he did it to keep some of his players minutes down but Houston employing similar lineups probably made the decision to go to three guards pretty easy.
- Wafer couldn’t duplicate his fourth quarter performance from Sunday night. He even drew a classic Van Gundy face for taking a quick contested three early in the shot clock during the first quarter. Wafer finished with 2 points on 1-of-4 shooting in just 8:27 of play. He did manage to grab 4 rebounds.
Next Up: The Magic host the New Jersey Nets Thursday night.
Final Thought: The Magic offense was much better Monday. They shot the ball well and limited mistakes.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Topics: Chase Budinger, Chris Duhon, Courtney Lee, Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Glen Davis, Goran Dragic, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Jordan Hill, Kevin Martin, Kevin McHale, Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, Orlando Magic, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Samuel Dalembert, Stan Van Gundy, Von Wafer