The Orlando Magic raced to a 17-point first quarter before inevitably allowing the Milwaukee Bucks to get back in the game. Eventually, the Magic took over in the fourth quarter, finishing off the Bucks off 114-98.
Dwight Howard led the Magic with 28 points and 14 rebounds while Brandon Jennings scored 27 points to lead the Bucks.
After building a huge lead, the Magic again let their opponent right back in it. Giving a pathetic defensive effort in the second quarter, the Magic allowed the Bucks to score 39 second quarter points on 15-of-23 shooting. If not for a Hedo Turkoglu three-pointer just before the halftime buzzer, the Magic would have been trailing. Instead, they entered the half with a one-point lead, 61-60.
After the game, Van Gundy looked very upset and quickly let it be known the Magic’s play in the second quarter was his problem.
“We came out very well, we were ready to play,” Van Gundy told reporters. “And then we got the lead and we gave up 39 points in a quarter. I was not very happy at halftime with what we had done defensively.”
The Magic came out in the second half and turned up the heat, holding the Bucks to 38 second half points on just 13-of-36 shooting (36.1%). The out rebounded the Bucks by 11 and forced 13 turnovers, leading to 16 Magic points in the half. It didn’t hurt that the Magic were on fire in the second half, torching the Bucks for 53 points on 18-of-34 shooting (52.9%) and hitting six of their 11 three-point attempts (54.5%).
For all of the grief Chris Duhon takes, he should be commended for the job he did Saturday. Duhon knocked down open jumpers (12 points on four three-pointers) and only turned the ball over twice. Starter Jameer Nelson had just eight points on 3-of-6 shooting, but he dished out 10 assists and turned the ball over only one time despite being limited to less than 25 minutes because of foul trouble.
“We got great point guard play tonight,” Van Gundy explained.
Dwight Howard, as he nearly always is, was a monster. The Magic big man picked up where he left off in Thursday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder by scoring 28 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Howard also had four steals and a block.
“Dwight got in the ball in the paint and when he wanted to, he scored,” Bucks big man Drew Gooden told reporters. Not only that, when they had a chance to shoot outside threes, they knocked them down.”
Orlando was 14-of-27 (51.9%) from beyond the arc and posted an effective field goal percentage of 60.5%. Teams just don’t lose games when they can knock down shots like that.
- Ryan Anderson had 16 points on 4-of-9 shooting but played just over two minutes in the fourth quarter. Van Gundy instead chose to employ a lineup of Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson.
- Redick provided a big lift in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the period, including back-to-back three-pointers that virtually sealed the game.
- Van Gundy was happy with Orlando’s efforts on the boards and even talked about a special strategy the Magic used, telling reporters: “Our strategy in the first half seemed to be that we would try to limit their offensive rebounding by them never missing a shot.”
- Van Gundy seemed especially happy with Glen Davis’s performance. Despite scoring just two points, he grabbed six defensive rebounds and nine total.
- Hedo Turkoglu played one of his better games, putting up 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go with nine assists, five rebounds and only two turnovers.
- Van Gundy said that the play of Turkoglu and Nelson is the biggest key to Orlando’s success on offense: “I’ve said all along that if Jameer and Turk play well, we’re going to be good on offense. If one of them plays well, we’re going to be okay. If neither one of them plays well, we’re probably struggling.”
Next Up: The Magic will be in Toronto to take on the Raptors.
Final Thought: The second quarter was brutal, but the Magic looked very good throughout the rest of the game.
(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: Andrew Bogut, Brandon Jennings, Chris Duhon, Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, Ish Smith, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Larry Hughes, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Scott Skiles, Stan Van Gundy, Von Wafer