The Orlando Magic defeated the Sacramento Kings 104-97 Sunday evening.
Despite Evans’ performance and Howard’s absence, Orlando managed to pull out the win with hustle throughout and timely shooting in the fourth period. Though the Kings won the rebounding battle, 45-43, Orlando seemed to reach loose balls more quickly than the Kings did, and its determination to crash the offensive boards helped it secure a 20-8 advantage in second-chance points. In addition, the Magic outrebounded the Kings by an 18-8 margin in the fourth period, which went a long way toward putting the game away.
The ball movement, which has been a major issue so far this season, increased dramatically with the team dishing out 24 assists while only turning the ball over 10 times. The Magic had 6 players tonight who had 2 assists or more, led by Jameer Nelson’s six.
Von Wafer provided a nice spark with 12 points off the bench in a planned appearance with Quentin Richardson still nursing that injured foot. Ryan Anderson did not settle for 3-pointers as he has throughout the season, getting to the offensive glass with six of his 11 rebounds coming on the offensive end. Anderson scored 19 points on 5-for-16 shooting and had eight free throw attempts — he still attempted 11 3-pointers though.
Davis scored 20 points, gathered eight rebounds and drew key fouls against Kings center DeMarcus Cousins that put Cousins on the bench for much of the second half.
The Magic needed everything Davis and the rest of the supporting cast provided. The personal fouls limited Howard to less than eight minutes of playing time over the first three quarters, and Howard did not attempt his first shot or collect his first rebound until the final quarter.
Acquired in a trade from the Boston Celtics to bring more nastiness and energy to the Magic, Davis came up big when Orlando needed it most without Howard. He scored 11 of his 20 points in the first half to steady the Magic and also added eight rebounds, two assists and several screens to free Richardson (22 points) and Anderson (19 points).
“The opportunity was there for me to contribute and I wanted to do that. My energy has been good the last couple of games and the basketball gods rewarded me for playing hard,’’ said Davis, who played through a hip injury and took a shot to the throat late in the game. “I was just trying to have a positive attitude and do what I could with my energy. My mentality was to do my role to the max. I was trying to make others better – getting (Jason Richardson) open and getting (Hedo Turkoglu) open.
Sometimes when you play with high energy, things just go your way.’
Orlando managed to win despite Dwight Howard being almost a non-factor due to foul trouble thanks to good performances by Jason Richardson (23 points, 5 assists) and Glen “Big Baby” Davis (20 points, 8 rebounds). Orlando shot a whopping 32 threes in the game, only making 10, but Sacramento just couldn’t hit any of their own, going 3-20 despite an otherwise good shooting performance (The Kings finished with a season high 52.1% FG%).
“Anytime you can do that is good,” said Kings head coach Keith Smart of Howard’s foul situation. ”I thought our guys stayed pretty much into the game plan, we didn’t overreact to the penetration and give Howard absolute freedom at the rim with dunks. I thought they did a great job with their weak side, coming in.”
DeMarcus Cousins was able to take advantage of Howard’s absence, scoring 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting. However, the Kings big man played with foul trouble himself, recording only 22 minutes in the matinee match-up.
Scott Levin of A Royal Pain gives his thoughts here.
(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