Denton: Magic-Suns Postgame Analysis

By John Denton
March 13, 2011

PHOENIX – As family reunions go, this was the equivalent of the Orlando Magic storming in and eating all of the potato salad, flipping over the picnic table and talking trash throughout the kickball game.

In what seemed at times like `old home week’ with the court filled with former Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns players on both sides, the Magic eventually put aside all of the sentiment and mushy feelings and smacked around the Suns with a wire-to-wire beatdown.

Orlando got 26 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks from superstar center Dwight Howard and placed seven players in double figures to whip Phoenix 111-88 and get the better of former teammates Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus.

The Magic (42-25) never trailed, led by as much as 28 points in the second half and basically made life miserable for Carter (3 of 9 shooting), Pietrus (4 of 12 shooting) and Gortat (12 points and four rebounds).

A Dec. 18 trade between the Magic and Suns shuffled Hedo Turkoglu (13 points), Jason Richardson (10 points) and Earl Clark (two points) to the Magic and Carter, Pietrus and Gortat to the Suns and set the stage for Sunday’s touchy-feely, nationally televised reunion.

``It was funny to me that I looked around out there at one point in the game and in a matter of six months I had played with everybody out there except for (Vince) Carter and (Aaron) Brooks,’’ Turkolgu joked. ``It was good to see all of those guys again and there was all of the kissing and hugging before the game. But once the game started, we went out there and took care of our business like we were supposed to.’’

Did they ever? The Magic scored at will for much of the game, putting up 32 points in the first quarter, 61 in the first half and doubling up the Suns (26-13) in the third quarter. And with Howard anchoring the inside, Orlando was able to keep former Magic players Carter (11 points) and Grant Hill (four points) away from the rim.

``It was fun to see Vince, Marsh and MP, but we’re more happy about getting the win,’’ Howard said. ``We hadn’t won here since I’ve been in the NBA, so that was my focus and it was a good win. My job is to dominate on both ends of the floor. If I get some blocks early they know they can’t come down the lane and that sets the tone. That’s how we have to play the whole game.’’

The Suns (33-31) were without star point guard Steve Nash, who missed both games against the Magic this season. Orlando won in the Valley of the Sun for the first time since Nov. 14, 2001, a span of eight games.

Here’s a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from a game where the Magic led wire-to-wire and was never really threatened: