Magic Blow Through Short-Handed Nets, 86-70
It’s finally over; no, Otis Smith is still the Magic’s GM. But “The Indecision” has ended. Dwight has chosen to stay in Orlando for the time being. And Magic fans couldn’t be any happier, greeting players (mostly Dwight) with a standing ovation as early as the team’s pre-game shootout.
How ironic, too, the Magic’s first game after the NBA trade deadline is against Dwight’s favored suitor, the New Jersey Nets. Instead of obtaining Dwight Howard via trade, the Nets had to settle for acquiring versatile swingman, Gerald Wallace, from the Portland Trailblazers. In other words, the Magic stayed the same team whereas the Nets barely upgraded from what they already had, which is little-to-nothing.
Tonight, the Nets didn’t even have their star point guard, Deron Williams, who was out with a sore right calf. It showed. The Nets, as a team, only tallied 16 assists for the whole game.
A lot of this has to do with a Magic defense that registered 8 steals on the night.
“I though we played some pretty good defense for a change,” commented Magic coach, Stan Van Gundy. “It wasn’t perfect, but it’s been a lot better than most nights.”
Orlando also displayed yet another night of balanced scoring from the whole team due to textbook execution of the pick-and-roll play. The offense was aggressive and the ball was exchanging hands all night. Howard led the Magic with 18 points, but he was just one of six Magic players in double figures.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis was another nice surprise coming off the bench for the Orlando Magic. Davis, who has regularly struggled since donning a Magic uniform, made 6 of his 9 shots for 13 points.
Now, to put things into perspective, the Nets are an awful team. Sorry but let’s be honest, their record speaks for itself. Their is something to be said though about winning games that should be won, and the Magic did so tonight. I mean, you don’t want to get caught losing to the Charlotte Bobcats (too soon?)
Moving on from this game, the Magic need to stop turning the ball over so much. They did so 18 times tonight, which is awful for any team in any game. Van Gundy couldn’t agree more.
“It was like we were committed to turning the ball over tonight … We just don’t value the ball enough. To me that’s our biggest offensive problem.”
While turnovers don’t seem like a huge problem, they do when you consider 18 turnovers led to 24 points for the Nets.
So, yes, Mickey Mouse triumphed over Jay-Z tonight both in our victory over the Nets and our victory in keeping Howard. But the Magic still have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to keep true to their claim of being a title contender in the East. The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat didn’t suddenly disappear off the grid. Also, teams like the Indiana Pacers only got better after the trade deadline whereas we stayed the same.
The Magic need to make Howard’s decision seem like a good one becase another roller coaster ride of a temper tantrum is the last thing they need.