The Orlando Magic did what they were supposed to do on Friday night – they clamped down defensively and dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers from start to finish, earning a 93-80 victory.
Ryan Anderson led all scorers with 17 points while Dwight Howard had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Antawn Jamison had 16 points and nine assists to lead the Cavs.
Stan Van Gundy was pleased with Orlando’s defense for the second consecutive game. After praising the job they did against Marcin Gortat and Steve Nash’s pick-and-rolls, he was again pleased with the way the Magic defended Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland screeners. Irving, who is the obvious top candidate for Rookie of the Year, finished with just 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting.
Van Gundy was also pleased with Orlando’s effort, something he’s questioned at times this season.
“I told them I really liked their effort tonight, their concentration defensively, would’ve liked to see them rebound a bit better,” Van Gundy told reporters. “Now we consciously did some things where we took Dwight off of Tristan Thompson to help on pick-and-rolls, which I think helped us limit Kyrie Irving a little bit.”
After the game, the main topic of conversation in Van Gundy’s press conference and the Magic locker room was the balanced scoring they had on excellent ball movement. All five Magic starters scored in double figures while Glen Davis had eight points and J.J. Redick scored nine. The Magic are now 18-3 when five players or more finish in double figures.
“Just another example of a real, socialist approach of sharing the basketball and scoring,” J..J. Redick explained. “Just to be clear, democracy and capitalism is good for America. Socialism is good for the Orlando Magic.”
Dwight Howard, who looked to be in for a big night with rookie Tristan Thompson defending him, was pretty quiet and extremely efficient. Howard scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting and grabbed 13 boards in just over 31 minutes of play.
Hedo Turkoglu had some bad turnovers, but overall he had a vintage Turk stat line, finishing with 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
“He played much better,” Van Gundy explained. “More energy, played much better.”
Van Gundy also pointed out that the team “jumped on” Turkoglu and were very angry with him after Alonzo Gee easily scored on him in the first quarter.
“Guys jumped on him all over the place and he was mad that guys said something,” Van Gundy said. “Then he came back and defended hard.”
- Besides Anderson, Howard and Turkoglu, the other Magic players in double figures were Jameer Nelson (10) and Jason Richardson (11).
- DeAndre Liggins, Daniel Orton and Ish Smith entered at the 1:59 mark. The Magic seemed to be trying to get Orton shots but the only shot he could get off was a three-pointer, which he air-balled right before the final horn sounded.
- Earl Clark also got in the came late, scoring two points in 2:40 of action.
Next Up: The Magic will be in Toronto to take on the Raptors Monday night.
Final Thought: The Magic did what they were supposed to do.
(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: Alonzo Gee, Anderson Varejao, Anthony Parker, Chris Duhon, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Kyrie Irving, Larry Hughes, Luke Walton, Mychel Thompson, Omri Casspi, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Tristan Thompson, Von Wafer