Savage from the Sideline: Magic vs. Heat (12/21/11)



By Dan Savage
December 21, 2011
THE WINNING ATTITUDE


ORLANDO -- They’ve only played two preseason games, but it’s easy to tell that there’s something special about this Orlando Magic team.

It’s clear that they have an indefinable quality that’s already taking shape, connecting them to one another and the crowd.

Sure the Magic shot the ball better, played improved transition defense and received more production from their star players. But that’s not what impressed me about Orlando’s come-from-behind home victory over Miami on Wednesday.

Instead, it was the Magic’s passion and fire that left a lasting impression.

Most NBA teams facing a 23-point deficit in an exhibition matchup would mail it in. It’s completely understandable and part of human nature. But this squad fought against the grain and demonstrated to the Magic faithful their commitment to winning at all costs.

“I thought we fought hard and played well,” Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy explained. “It was a good step.”

There were several iconic moments in the contest. For one, Quentin Richardson going head to head with LeBron James after Miami’s small forward showboated in front of Orlando’s bench and bumped Q coming down the court.

“You put the message out there that certain things aren’t going to happen and that you’re not going to do certain things (here) the way you would do certain things everywhere else,” said Richardson. “You’re not going to get a free pass because you’re the ‘King’ or whatever you’re supposed to be. You put your pants on one leg at a time just like I do.”

There was also the sizzling emotion of Glen Davis, who battled through contact to complete several hoop-and-harm plays, including one that left him posed like Shamu on the Amway Center floor.

“I am emotional guy; I wear my emotions on my sleeve,” Davis explained. “I love the game, I love to compete and I love to win.”

It was that type of intensity on Wednesday night that connected with True Blue Nation and helped create a playoff-like atmosphere inside of Amway Center during a preseason game.

It’s also what should have fans fired up for opening night.


BEST LINES FROM THE LOCKER ROOM


PLAYER/COACH
QUOTES

Quentin Richardson
“(Glen Davis) is loud, very loud. When I say 'voice,' that's what I mean, loud.” WATCH VIDEO

Glen Davis
“I don't know, it was a reaction. I always watch soccer and I passed by SeaWorld and there's Shamu coming up ... It gave the crowd something to laugh at.” WATCH VIDEO

Dwight Howard
“I really enjoyed seeing the fans tonight cheering. They were loud and just proud for Magic basketball.” WATCH VIDEO



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"i know it's only preseason but that was a lot of fun to watch #gomagic" - @BenRiegel

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"This IS the year, time to put Orlando on the map and show the NBA that the Magic are a force not to be taken lightly." - Josh McCue

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"At 1st I thought I was never going to like BB just because he played for Boston and I hated everything Boston. But dude is winning me over i love his heart and the way he is playing. Just what we needed." - three3d





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