Savage from the Sideline: A Win's A Win

By Dan Savage
February 1, 2012

In life, it’s not about how you look while you’re getting the job done; it’s about getting the results you desire.

While the Magic did not put together the prettiest 48 minutes of basketball on Wednesday, they were able to get back on track with a hard-fought home victory over the Wizards.

Sure, there were turnovers and once again Orlando had trouble advancing the ball up the court, but in the end the Magic found the antidote to their four-game losing skid by getting back to what they do best.

“It was a little rough for us tonight,” Dwight Howard explained. “But in the end, we got the win and that’s the only thing that matters.”

In addition to putting forth a top-notch defensive effort in the first half, the Magic received a balanced attack from their superstar center, who posted 23 points and 18 rebounds and a fine shooting night beyond the arc from Ryan Anderson and J.J. Redick, who drilled nine of their 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

“I thought our half-court defense in the first half was outstanding,” Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy explained. “The (win) starts to break the ice and it allows us to focus our minds on getting better instead of on we haven’t won a game in forever.”

Despite all the talk of the Magic’s locker room beginning to crumble in the wake of Howard’s trade demands, the losing streak and their shooting struggles, this Orlando squad played with plenty of composure against Washington and looked like they were having fun in the process.

“We’ve been staying together in the locker room despite everything that’s been going on around us,” Howard said. “As a team collectively, we haven’t allowed any of that stuff to sink into our heads and separate us.”

The Magic are still clearly behind Howard, even breaking out in jubilant celebration following his thunderous throwdown over JaVale McGee late in the fourth quarter.

“Everybody kind of looks to Dwight to see where his reaction is,” Anderson said. “When he’s excited and when he’s motivated, he’s kind of the one that we look to and feed off him. He was doing that and you can tell tonight, we were all having fun.”

However, even with the triumph the Magic still have to get a few things accomplished before Friday’s showdown with the Cavaliers.

They still need to find a solution for their problems advancing the ball up the court and a way to cut down on turnovers early in the ballgame – they had six in the first quarter against Washington.

“It’s frustrating to me as a coach, because I can’t figure out what we’re doing wrong,” Van Gundy explained. “The hard thing tonight was we couldn’t run anything. We couldn’t get into our offense with their pressure.”

Orlando will get some help by having their first practice in what seems like ages on Thursday.

They’ll also now have the advantage of having a win in their back pocket and momentum finally in their favor.

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