Savage from the Sideline: Magic's Best Win Yet



By Dan Savage
December 30, 2011
MAGIC'S BEST WIN YET


The Orlando Magic closed out 2011 with a bang.

In its last contest before the New Year, Orlando brought tremendous energy and effort, Dwight Howard dominated on both ends of the court and the Magic earned their third straight victory.

It was a triumph that Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy referred to as their "best win yet."

Charlotte struggled to contain Howard all night as he recorded 24 rebounds for the second straight matchup, to go along with 20 points and four blocks.

“I’m just trying to get it going,” D12 explained after the 33rd 20-20 game of his career. “Right now I’m struggling a little bit from the free throw line and putting balls in the basket at the offensive end, so I’m just trying to be very aggressive, run the floor, get some rebounds, block some shots and have fun.”

With Howard making good decisions out of the post, Orlando operated its offense efficiently from the inside out.

“Dwight played very well out of the post,” Van Gundy said. “He tried to score when he was one-on-one, he threw the ball out when he was double-covered, he just made simple, solid basketball plays.”

On the second night of a back-to-back, it was exactly what the Magic needed out of their superstar center.

“I think especially when you’re coming on a night where you’re on a back-to-back, to be able to play through him and be able to conserve a little energy and let the other guys spot up on the perimeter; it was real, real helpful,” the Magic’s head coach added.

It also helped that Orlando was in control right from the start, posting the first 11 points of the contest.

Jason Richardson led the charge, firing off 13 of his 16 points in the first half to help the Magic score 30 points in the paint before halftime.

“We came out with a lot of energy, pushed the ball and got easy layups,” Ryan Anderson explained. “We’re in really good shape right now.”

After recording 22 points the night before, the Magic’s power forward had another quality outing. Anderson drilled five of his 12 attempts from downtown on his way to a game-high 23 points.

“Ryan has been shooting the ball well,” Howard said. “I don’t know what it is, but he’s been shooting the ball well and hopefully he can keep it up.”

With the way he’s been performing, the Magic are hoping Howard can keep up his phenomenal play as well.

NOTES:

  • Orlando was able to earn its second win in as many nights, without the services of Jameer Nelson. The Magic’s starting point guard sat out with neck spasms after suffering the injury against New Jersey on Thursday.

    Chris Duhon filled in efficiently, dishing out six assists, while only turning the ball over three times.


  • Friday's 24-rebound effort was the 50th 20-board game of Howard's career. He also became the first player since Dennis Rodman (1997) to record back-to-back games with at least 24 rebounds.


  • Hedo Turkoglu turned in another solid contest, posting 15 points and connecting on 3-of-6 attempts from long distance.


  • After scoring 30 points in the paint in the first half, Orlando continued to dominate the interior outscoring Charlotte 44-20 on the inside Friday.


  • The Magic exploded out of the gate, scoring the first 11 points of the game as they never trailed in their triumph over the Bobcats.





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