The Orlando Magic rode the strong play of their front court (and not just Dwight Howard!) to an easy 103-93 win over the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night.
Ryan Anderson led all scorers with 29 points while Dwight Howard poured in 28 points and 16 rebounds. Jared Dudley led the Suns with 17 points, but scored just four points after a 13-point first quarter.
The first quarter was closely contested with Orlando’s ability to knock down the three-pointer (and a few free throws) making the difference. In the second quarter, the Magic began to run away with it, extending the lead to 13 by the half. They pushed the lead to 20 in the third quarter and led by as many as 22 in the fourth quarter before essentially mailing it in, allowing the Suns to have a 31-point fourth quarter that made the final score indicate the game was closer than it really was.
Orlando’s front court was fantastic. Dwight Howard, Ryan Anderson and Glen Davis combined for 73 points and 27 rebounds. The Howard vs Marcin Gortat storyline was a hot topic coming in. Gortat has played well, averaging 16 and 10 with the Suns this season and looked like he had something to prove against the league’s best center. Gortat started off okay – despite not scoring, he had seven first quarter. Over the course of the game, he was absolutely dominated by Howard. Gortat couldn’t get anything going offensively. However, that wasn’t completely a result of Howard’s individual defense – Stan Van Gundy credited the entire Magic defense for the way they handled the Suns’ Steve Nash/Gortat pick-and-rolls.
“We defended Marcin’s offense very very well.” Van Gundy explained. “That was more of a team thing because Marsh’s game is pick-and-rolls with Nash and we made a real, concerted effort to take that role to the rim away. I thought we did that as well as it can possibly be done.”
Even when Gortat appeared to be free, he couldn’t get the ball in the basket. Plus, after the first quarter, he grabbed just two more rebounds. Offensively, Howard was about as dominating – he scored 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting and even went 6-of-10 from the free throw line. Howard had his lefty hook going and really took advantage of Gortat.
“He (Howard) basically destroyed me and the whole team,” Gortat told reporters.
Ryan Anderson hasn’t been shooting the ball well at all lately but he snapped out of it in a big way Wednesday night. Anderson scored 29 points and made seven of his 12 three-point attempts. Van Gundy agreed with reporter John Denton that Anderson’s body language has been off lately and went on to praise Anderson’s shooting, but was very displeased with Anderson’s rebounding (he grabbed four boards in the game) and the way he has been defending opposing fours lately.
Glen Davis had one of his best games with the Magic. He was all over the court, made nice passes, took smart shots and actually finished around the basket.
“Tonight, he was very good,” Van Gundy said. “He made some great passes. I thought he played with very very good effort.
Davis finished with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds.
- Jason Richardson was held scoreless for just the fifth time in his career (thanks to Evan Dunlap for that one).
- Jason Richardson (0-of-7), Quentin Richardson (1-of-5) and Chris Duhon (1-of-6) combined to shoot 2-of-18 from the field. No one else on the Magic besides Justin Harper, who missed his only attempt, shot under 50.0% from the field. If you take out those four, the rest of the team was 34-of-64 (53.1%) from the field.
- After turning the ball over five times in the first quarter, the Magic gave it away just six more times over the next two quarters before turning it over six times (resulting in 11 Phoenix points) in the final quarter.
- Orlando, as you’d expect, had a decided advantage from beyond the arc – they knocked down 11 of their 23 three-point attempts while the Suns were just 4-of-12 from beyond the arc.
- To further show what a good job the Magic did defensively (for three quarters at least), just look at Steve Nash’s numbers. Although he was able to get into the lane and hit a couple of his patented runners, Nash had just 12 points and a shockingly low two assists.
Next Up: The Magic will host the Cleveland cavaliers Friday night.
Final Thought: It was a good bounce back game after an embarrassing effort Monday.
(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: Channing Frye, Chris Duhon, Deandre Liggins, Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Glen Davis, Grant Hill, Hakim Warrick, Hedo Turkoglu, Ish Smith, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jared Dudley, Jason Richardson, Marcin Gortat, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Phoenix Suns, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Steve Nash, Von Wafer