The Orlando Magic let a 17-point first quarter slip away, but ultimately held on for a 102-95 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Ryan Anderson had another big game, scoring 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds while John Wall led all scorers with 33 points.
In many ways, this was a typical Magic game, at least when it comes to this season. Orlando had serious turnover issues (18 for the game), went long stretches where it looked like the couldn’t score (see much of the second and third quarters), shot the ball poorly from inside the arc (19-of-39) and had to have a huge night from beyond the three-point line to bail them out (15-of-36).
The Magic got off to a fantastic start, building a 28-11 lead. The three-pointers were falling, the defense was stifling, the Magic were getting the ball into Jason Richardson in the post – and he was converting – plus, maybe most importantly, Jameer Nelson was getting past John Wall and into the paint, creating good looks for his teammates. The Magic were also forcing the Wizards into long, difficult two-point shots that were continuously clanking out.
As they often do, Orlando began to let up once they built a big lead, allowing the speedy Wizards to get some points in transition and get into the paint for easy looks – the Wizards scored 40 points in the paint to Orlando’s 30. Although it took him 25 shots, Wall found a bit a rhythm and finished the game were 33 points while Nelson wound up with 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
However, the Magic got a much needed energy boost from their bench. J.J. Redick scored 15 points on just eight shots while Glen Davis continued his improved play with 12 himself. Rookie DeAndre Liggins, filling in for an injured Quentin Richardson, didn’t score but gave the Magic valuable minutes on the defensive end. Stan Van Gundy praised Liggins for the way he slowed Wizards guard Jordan Crawford in the second half.
- The only other bench player who saw action was Chris Duhon. Outside of a lone three-pointer, Duhon was terrible, turning the ball over five times in 16 minutes.
- Ryan Anderson was fantastic again. Van Gundy has told reporters over and over again Anderson needs to do a better job of rebounding the ball on the defensive end – 10 of his 15 boards were defensive rebounds. He also had a team-high 23 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
- Dwight Howard had a rough night and went over 30 minutes in between field goals at one point. He turned the ball over four times and scored just 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Howard did, however, grab 12 rebounds and block five shots.
Next Up: The Magic will host the Oklahoma City Thunder Thursday night.
Final Thought: The Magic were sloppy, inconsistent and at times, lazy, but they got another victory.
(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 on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Topics: 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