The Orlando Magic struggled on both ends throughout their game with the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night but corrected some of their mistakes in the second half and eventually defeated the Bobcats 96-89.
Dwight Howard led the Magic with 25 points and 17 rebounds while Gerald Henderson had 22 points to lead the Bobcats.
- The Magic gave an extremely poor effort in the early stages of the game prompting Stan Van Gundy to tell reporters “In the first half we didn’t put much effort into into it, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.” Van Gundy went on to say the Magic’s lack of energy was “all mental.” Van Gundy pointed out it was Charlotte’s fifth game in six days so there was no excuse for the Bobcats having more energy than the Magic.
- The Magic did not look good on the defensive end Tuesday night and that includes three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. The perimeter defenders were often beaten and Howard was not his usual self once that happened. The Magic made some second half adjustments and the offensively-challenged Bobcats fell apart on the offensive end. They scored just 38 points points on 17-of-38 shooting.
- Von Wafer came off the bench to give the Magic a real lift. In just over 24 minutes of action, Wafer scored 13 points and 5-of-8 shooting with eight of those points coming in the fourth quarter. Van Gundy said Wafer gave the Magic “good energy” and “hit a couple of big shots.” Wafer, who’s struggled on the defensive end, looked a little better Tuesday, helping to keep the Bobcats at bay in the fourth quarter.
- Fun fact: Dwight Howard said Wafer’s nickname is “Stiff Neck>”
- Like Wafer, Hedo Turkoglu scored eight fourth quarter points again assuming his role as the Magic’s go-to-guy down the stretch. Turk was 2-of-3 from the field in the final quarter and got to the free throw line four times. Turkoglu finished with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists.
- The only other player besides Wafer Van Gundy really praised after the game was Glen Davis. Although Big Baby didn’t shoot the ball well (six points on 3-of-9 shooting), Van Gundy “thought he raised our energy” and “made some hustle plays out there.” That much was clear – Davis was on the ground several times diving for lose balls. Howard said Davis is always on the ground because “that’s what babies do” and said he doesn’t like the ground but Davis doesn’t mind because “he’s got a lot more cushion.”
- Howard picked a couple of early fouls and appeared to show some frustration with the way he was being defended, especially by rookie Bismack Biyombo. However, Howard was able to rebound from that early foul trouble and post another big line – 25 points and 17 rebounds. As I mentioned earlier, he wasn’t as good as usual on the defensive end, but seemed to step up late and keep the Bobcats out of the paint down the stretch.
- Ryan Anderson had an off night (!3 points on 4-of-13 shooting) but made a key three-pointer down the stretch.
- Van Gundy went offense/defense down the stretch, inserting Anderson on offense and Davis on defense.
- Jameer Nelson padded his stats with six fourth quarter free throws, but still wasn’t nearly as aggressive as he should be. At point Howard even told Nelson to “shoot the ball.” He finished with 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting and had four assists.
- After the game, Howard joked he was signing with the Harlem Globetrottors and told us all to “break the story.”
Next Up: The Magic host the San Antonio Spurs, who blew a double digit lead and were clobbered by the Miami Heat Tuesday night on Wednesday night.
FInal Thought: The Magic got their fifth straight win, but it wasn’t easy and certainly was not impressive.
(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: Bismack Biyombo, Boris Diaw, Byron Mullens, Charlotte Bobcats, Chris Duhon, DJ White, Dwight Howard, Gerald Henderson, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Kemba Walker, Larry Hughes, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Tyrus Thomas, Von Wafer