Denton's Dish: Magic at Pacers (1/24/12)



By John Denton
January 24, 2012


Dwight Howard moved to the top of the scoring charts in Orlando Magic history on Tuesday night. And more importantly, the Magic earned back a measure of respect after a forgettable Monday massacre in Boston.

Twenty-four hours after being humiliated in a loss where they set a franchise record for fewest points scored in a game, the Magic got an inspired effort from several players in a dominating 102-83 defeat of the Indiana Pacers.

For the Magic (12-5), Tuesday’s game couldn’t come soon enough after they were beaten 87-56 in Boston by the Celtics on Monday. But a Magic team that was historically bad on Monday clicked on almost all cylinders in the second half on Tuesday and routed the surprising Pacers (11-5).

Howard scored 14 points, moving him past Nick Anderson and into first place all time in scoring in Magic annals. In his eight NBA seasons, Howard now has 10,657 points, while Anderson drops to second with 10,650.

Howard had to battle through first-half foul trouble, but became the Magic’s all-time leader in scorer with 9:59 left in the third quarter, fittingly enough, on a thunderous dunk. While Howard was humbled by the record, he was even more pleased that Orlando bounced back from the Boston loss and the Magic have still yet to lose consecutive games this season.

``We just stayed together. We had a good talk on the plane (Monday) night between the players and we were really focused in film session. We got a good win against a good team,’’ Howard said. ``(Indiana) hadn’t lost at home and had been playing great basketball all year. So it feels good to get a good win and I’m proud of my team.’’

Ryan Anderson, who went scoreless a night earlier against Boston, poured in 24 points and grabbed six of his eight rebounds on the offensive glass. The NBA’s leader in 3-pointers made five of seven shots from beyond the arc.

J.J. Redick had 15 points off the bench, and the Magic were a plus-19 in his 27 minutes on the floor. Hedo Turkoglu added 11 points, eight assists and three 3-pointers.

Even the reserves played well on a night when the Magic looked like a team on a mission to redeem themselves. Chris Duhon, who closed the game with Jameer Nelson out with a minor injury, had eight points, four assists and three assists and the Magic were plus-17 in his 24 minutes on the floor. Earl Clark added five points, four rebounds and four blocked shots, while Quentin Richardson scored eight points and hit two of the Magic’s 13 3-pointers.

``Our effort was great, our energy was good and a lot of guys had a lot to do with us winning,’’ Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``We left some guys on the bench who would normally be back out there in the fourth quarter because I liked the way that group was playing. There was no attitude things and everybody was into the game.

Sometimes when you take a loss like (Monday) night people get back focused and you stop taking winning for granted and (winning) is the only thing that matters.

Sometimes you get away from that and (the Boston loss) refocused us.’’

Indiana entered the game 5-0 at home and having not allowed a team to score 100 points in the past nine games. But they were no match for an Orlando team that bounced back to shoot 46 percent after shooting 24.6 percent a night earlier. Also, after yielding 29 first-quarter points, the Magic gave us just 16, 17 and 21 points over the final three quarters.

Here is a closer look at some of the key plays from Tuesday night’s game:

    MAGICAL MOMENTS

  • Howard headed into Monday’s game in Boston needing 26 points to become the Magic’s all-time leader in scoring, but he felt the attention on the record ``jinxed’’ him.

    Needing just seven points to move into first on the charts, the record looked like it would be a first-quarter formality after Howard scored six of the Magic’s first 11 points.

    But foul trouble quickly set in and Howard’s dunk to pass Howard didn’t come until 2 minutes into the third quarter.

    ``It was tough to get. It’s like a jinx, you know. The last two games I couldn’t really get anything going on the offensive end. But doing this is a great honor,’’ said Howard, who reached the feat in his 584th career game with the Magic. ``I started my career with the Magic and these eight years have been great. To be the leading scorer all-time it means a lot. I’ve got a long way to go.’’

  • With Howard in early foul trouble, the Magic looked to be in trouble in the second period before launching an impressive comeback. Trailing 39-31, Orlando scored 10 straight points to take the lead and send the Pacers into a timeout. And considering that Howard was on the floor so little in the first half, it was somewhat of a victory for the Magic that they were tied at 45 at the half.

    Ryan Anderson, who did not score and did not have a rebound in Monday’s massacre in Boston, scored 11 points in the first half and made all three of his 3-point shots.

    Monday’s game was the first time in his four-year NBA career that he failed to score in a game where he played at least 20 minutes, and he was determined to bounce back in a big way on Tuesday.

    ``The best part of the NBA sometimes is having back-to-backs so we can just forget about (Monday’s loss) and move on,’’ Anderson said. ``We’re a team of resilience and we don’t want to give up just because we lost one game.’’

  • Seldom-used reserve forward Earl Clark took advantage of some playing time in the second quarter, and he sparked Orlando’s turnaround with his solid play on both ends of the floor.

    Pressed into duty with Glen ``Big Baby’’ having to play center because of Howard’s foul trouble, Clark had five points, three rebounds and three blocked shots in the first half. He had a dunk on a nice cut to the rim and a tough layup in traffic after getting his own rebound. And his most impressive play of the first half was stuffing a Tyler Hansbrough dunk attempt at the rim in the second quarter.

    ``That second quarter to be even in that after a bad first quarter, Dwight being in foul trouble and Glen and Ryan being tired, that was one of the biggest things in the game being tied,’’ Van Gundy said. ``I told Earl, that’s the hardest I’ve ever seen him play. He brought us a lot of energy and that’s the kind of player that Earl needs to be. Hopefully that’s who he will be.’’

    MAGIC MYSTERY

  • The start of the game seemed so promising for Howard what with him scoring six of the Magic’s first 11 points on three dunks. But the first half quickly went downhill for the Magic superstar center.

    He picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter, the second one a controversial push-off under the basket that sent him to the bench for the final 5:42 of the first quarter.

    Then, just seconds into the second quarter, the foul trouble continued for Howard. After being on the floor just 24 seconds, he bit on a shot fake from Lou Admundson and picked up a third foul that sent him back to the bench.

    In all, Howard was on the floor just 6 minutes, 42 seconds in the first half.

    MAGIC MOVES

  • Quentin Richardson’s 28-foot 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter was a huge momentum lift for the Magic. Richardson had to alter the shot because it was being contested by Dahntay Jones. The shot put the surging Magic ahead 74-62 at the end of three periods.

  • Nick Anderson’s record fell Tuesday night, but the Magic’s Community Ambassador hopes that Howard ultimately shatters the mark and makes it unreachable for any future players. That, of course, would mean that Howard would be spending the next several years in a Magic uniform.

    ``We all want to see the young man remain in a Magic uniform for years to come and hopefully that will happen,’’ Anderson told Fox Sports Florida during the telecast. ``He could set many, many records on down the line. He’s so talented and still developing. So hopefully it can all happen in a Magic uniform.’’

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997 and recently authored ``All You Can Be’’ with Magic center Dwight Howard. E-mail John at jd41898@aol.com

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.





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