The Orlando Magic defeated the Washington Wizards 103-85 to improve to 5-2 on the season. The Magic dominated from the get-go, taking a 31-14 lead after just one quarter of play. Dwight Howard had 28 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Magic while Ryan Anderson chipped in with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Nick Young’s 17 points led the Wizards.
- Although Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy pointed out the Wizards have been playing better, there isn’t a whole lot to take out of this one. The Wizards have a squad full of players who throw up horrible, inefficient shots throughout the game. Nick Young and Jordan Crawford specialize in this kind of play. You don’t see any type of plan on offense. There’s no ball movement. Where the pick and roll with John Wall and maybe JaVale McGee? (Sidenote: Wall’s speed is something to see) On the other end, the Wizards don’t seem particularly interested in defending.
- I don’t want to completely pile on the Wizards, because there is some talent there. I also don’t want to belittle the Magic either. They came out and played hard in a game they could have written off as an easy win early in the game. Van Gundy called it Orlando’s “most energetic start” and said the Magic “got good play from all of our starters.”
- Ryan Anderson continued his hot start, scoring 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Van Gundy wanted Anderson to be more aggressive and rebound the ball better. He answered the bell, by taking 11 shots inside the 3-point line (while still going 3-of-5 from beyond the arc) and grabbing 15 rebounds, including 7 offensive rebounds.
- Van Gundy called Anderson’s performance “much much better” and said they’d need him to be just as good Friday with the league’s best rebounding team, the Chicago Bulls, in town.
- Not much needs to be said about Dwight Howard. The Wizards actually have some size, but they gave Howard no resistance, allowing Howard to have a relatively easy night. He was 11-of-13 from the field and got just about any shot he wanted. On one specific occasion, Wizards defenders left Howard to chase Jameer Nelson under the basket, who then threw an alley oop to Howard. It was that kind of night for both squads.
- Anderson and Howard had 35 combined rebounds, while the Wizards had 44 as a team.
- Jameer Nelson didn’t put up big scoring numbers (7 points on 3-of-8 shooting) but had commaned of the offense, dishing out 9 assists and turning it over just twice. Van Gundy was very happy that Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu, who ran some point guard during the game, combined for 17 assists and turned the ball over just 5 times. Turkoglu also added 15 points (7-of-9 shooting) and grabbed 5 of Orlando’s 54 rebounds.
- Glen Davis continued to struggle, scoring 4 points on 2-of-10 shooting. Van Gundy told reporters Davis has been playing solid defense but didn’t have much else positive to say. “He’s not playing well and I’m not sure his mind is on the right things.” Van Gundy didn’t elaborate but did go on to say 65% of Davis’s shots this year have come from beyond 12 feet, compared to just 50% last season.
- After the game, former Magic forward Rashard Lewis (6 points, 4 rebounds) had a telling comment, “I know that Orlando Magic team and they played pretty well, but they didn’t play near as hard as they should have. The game was easy for them tonight. We went out there and went through the motions. I don’t think anybody competed at all.”
Next Up: The Magic will host one of the elite teams in the Chicago Bulls Friday night.
Final Thought: This is exactly the way things should go when the Magic take on an opponent like the Wizards.
(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)
Tags: Andray Blatche Chris Duhon Chris Singleton Dwight Howard Glen Davis Hedo Turkoglu J.j. Redick Jameer Nelson Jan Vesely Jason Richardson Javale Mcgee John Wall Jordan Crawford Larry Hughes Maurice Evans Nick Young Orlando Magic Otis Smith Quentin Richardson Rashard Lewis Ryan Anderson Stan Van Gundy Von Wafer Washington Wizards