Magic Bite / Houston Rock It
Getting pumped for the game, nothing lifts the spirit like a juicy and well-seasoned burger bedded atop a pillow of fresh hot fries (throw in a brew or two and chaos no longer exists).
On this particular early evening, I ventured to one of my favorite regular dining establishments. Not only are the dogs top in class (and I know my dogs), all items on the menu kick it. On an uninhabited side, I boldly chowed on a southern style coleslaw cheeseburger and fries. To be on the square, Bite Rockin’ Burgers “rock it.”
Now that I transitioned the Houston mascot into the game (see previous sentence and use your imagination if you happen to be lost), time to check out the Magic’s new look.
Between trades, injuries, and NBA sanctions (can you say Hedo), all in attendance remained unsure who would be taking the floor. With teams hitting wood, a sparse crowd fell spell to an apparent case of mass laryngitis.
With a tip controlled by Asik and the Rockets, a non-contested three kissed net. Magic countered with a three of their own, securing an opposite result. After a defensive rebound, the Rockets sprinted only to be fouled at the basket. Asik, morphing a 3-point lead into a 7 point lead (offensive rebound followed by a three by Jeremy Lin), silence enveloped stagnant expectations and a “been here before” glare.
Refusing to play lifeless, the Magic countered at the line, drawing their first blood after several minutes of miscues and hip holding. Lacking defensive effort, the Rockets (after four perfect attempts), ordered a counter offensive to find themselves up 14 to 4 after 3 minutes of play. The remainder of the first showcased a non-impressive defensive effort… then again, with a rag-tag team, what does one really expect?
To Orlando’s tenacity, the team’s bench players mastered an inspiring rebound.
The Magic owned the final six minutes of the quarter and ended up leading 32 to 31
• Chandler Parson, of University of Florida fame, led the Rockets in scoring with 8
• Both teams scored at will, hitting over 50% from the field
• Orlando made all free throw attempts, 6 of 6, while Houston made half that amount
With a fresh quarter in the history books, Al Harrington netted a quick three. Up by five, the Magic suddenly intensified efforts, pretended to step up their defense, and forced Rocket poor choice shots. Official time out was called at the 8:51 mark with Orlando rolling in front, 40 to 39.
Back from the first timeout of the second quarter, Houston refueled, taking an aggressive stand along with a new four point lead within a two-minute swing. Feeling a need to feed, Orlando called for a pit stop. With six minutes remaining, the Magic’s Nicholson picked up the pace on both ends of the court, keeping the score within striking distance.
End of first half, the Magic skidded to a 3-point deficit, 64 to 61
• Orlando’s transitional defense was non-existent
• Asik kept Orlando in the game, hitting only 1 out of 5 attempts
• Four Magic players notched double figures: Harkless, Nicholson, Vucevic, and Harris
• Houston shot an impressive 60% from inside the arc, the Magic a respectable 55%
The third began with Orlando receiving an old-fashioned three point play. Houston responded with a new-fangled two. Behind Afflalo and Nicholson, Orlando controlled count down… Rockets called timeout after three minutes, bleeding in the red 72 to 69.
The remaining nine minutes featured Afflalo for the Magic and the Rockets’ Hardin. By the concluding tick of the third, it became abundantly clear exclusive rights to land in the win column were up for grabs.
Teetering after the third, Orlando 87, Houston 86
• Bencher Tobias Harris fronted all scorers with 20, hitting 8 of 11 from inside the arc
• Orlando handled the ball well, handing over a total of 6 turnovers
• Houston launched 25 three point attempts, hitting 12
Ignoring lottery placement, the Magic began the final quarter with a mission and a standing on their feet crowd. Behind a stepped up defense, the Magic forced a quick turnover and followed it up with a clean three. After a silent two minutes, Houston cut the lead to one thanks to a three-pointer of their own.
With neither team standing down, Orlando called time out after three minutes of play and a score tied at 94. Back from the sidelines, Orlando was clipped with a shot clock violation. Rockets responded with an easy one and a two point lead. Feeling the groove, Harris tipped a miss for a hustle tying score.
Two teams continued on a score-swing for the next few minutes until Hardin decided he had enough. With four minutes to play and down by five, Orlando called for a re-fuel of their own. Afflalo missed badly only to find Hardin at the line. Hitting both, Orlando returned with a scramble and a turnover. Suddenly down by nine within 30 seconds, Orlando began to descent as if on cue.
Feeling their pain, a thinning crowd began exodus with 126 seconds to go and AC/DC jamming the airwaves.
Though Orlando did not win, they performed with hustle and heart… and I respect that.
Final score: Orlando Magic 110, Houston Rockets 118
All this excitement and talking about food has me thinking about grabbing another southern slaw cheeseburger. Grooving on the move, I’m heading out of the Amway and in the direction of Bite Rockin’ Burgers secured tightly in the heart of Longwood, 470 West SR 434. On the coupon slide, go to the Bite Rockin’ Burgers website (www.biterockinburgers.com), join the Frequent Biters Club, and do what the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets did a great deal of…. scoring big!
Hope to see you slamming a few, I am
West Orlando News Online Event and Career Columnist
Shadow me on Twitter: @dannyatecs