Despite playing nearly all of the game without Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic defeated the Sacramento Kings 104-97 Sunday night. The Magic allowed the Kings to have a huge third quarter, matching Orlando’s 32 points and even briefly let the Kings take a fourth quarter lead before eventually holding on for the victory.
Jason Richardson had a team high 22 points to go with five assists and four rebounds while Glen Davis scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Tyreke Evans had a game-high 28 points and eight assists for the Kings.
- Dwight Howard got into early foul trouble, picking up two fouls in the first 1:46 of the game. Both fouls should be considered “iffy” but DeMarcus Cousins certainly did a good job of selling both of them. Cousins also drew an early foul on Glen Davis. Howard barely played in the second quarter after picking up another foul, then had to be removed in the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul just 2:04 into the period. Luckily for the Magic, Cousins picked up his fourth and fifth fouls just a few minutes later. Howard wound up scoring five points on 1-of-2 shooting and grabbing four rebounds in 17 minutes.
- Jason Richardson looked much better today, continuing his solid play against the Kings. Richardson actually got into the lane, hitting a couple of easy layups and floaters that set up some better looks from beyond the arc. He scored 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting, went 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and chipped in five assists and four rebounds. It was easily Richardson’s best game of the season.
- Glen Davis also really picked up the slack for the Magic. Having to spend a lot of time at center, Davis, like Richardson, had his best game of the season. He had his mid range jumper going, but also used power moves in the post and made the type of hustle players the Magic need – diving on the floor, drawing a charge, etc… He finished with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds.
- Ryan Anderson had another rough night shooting-wise, going just 5-of-16 from the field and 3-of-11 from beyond the arc. However, Anderson was a little better defensively and much better on the glass (11 rebounds). He also was more aggressive, getting to the line eight times. He finished with 19 points and four steals.
- Jameer Nelson continues to be too passive. He did have six assists, four rebounds and two steals, but he attempted just six shots in the game. He is looking to pass nearly all the time and hasn’t been getting into the lane like he should. He finished with five points.
- Von Wafer provided a huge spark off the bench with the Magic lacking offense in the first half. He scored seven points on his first three shots and finished with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Wafer has a great first step and does a pretty good job of getting into the paint. It seems like he can get a little jump-shot happy, which he needs to be careful. If he can do that, we’ll probably see him get more time.
- Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said he went into the game planning to use Wafer. He didn’t expect to use Earl Clark (15 minutes, two points, four rebounds), but had to because of the foul trouble.
- Van Gundy tried everything to get the offense going with Howard out early on, using his two bigs to set picks (Clark and Davis at the time) for the wings (Horns set) and then implementing a three-guard lineup of Wafer, J.J. Redick (six points, three rebounds, two assists) and Chris Duhon (two points, two assists, two rebounds).
- Orlando’s bench, led by Davis and Wafer, finished with 42 points to Sacramento’s 18.
- The Magic didn’t shoot that well,while the Kings did. Sacramento posted an effective field goal percentage of 54.1% while Orlando’s was just 48.3%. Orlando’s defense is still a work in progress, but they gave a good effort, attempting 14 more shots, getting to the line seven more times, and grabbing seven more offensive rebounds. The Magic also turned the ball over just 10 times to the Kings’ 17.
Next Up: The Magic will be in Portland to take on the 5-2 Trail Blazers Wednesday night.
Final Thought: Any time Orlando can win a game in which Howard plays just 17 minutes, they have to be pleased.
(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: Chris Duhon, Demarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Jimmer Fredette, John Salmons, Keith Smart, Larry Hughes, Marcus Thornton, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Sacramento Kings, Stan Van Gundy, Von Wafer