Make-shift Magic

By Alex Barrett
[email protected]

The Orlando Magic rode the back of another Dwight Howard 20-point, 20-rebound game, the 35th of his career, to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 101-85 on a poor shooting night in the Amway Center on Tuesday.

At halftime, it looked like neither team would be able to reach 60 points, much less get over 100 for the game. The Magic were averaging almost 50 percent shooting from the floor on the season heading into the game, but through halftime they could only muster 37 percent from the field, including a nauseating 18 percent from behind the arc.

“The shots just weren’t falling in the first half,” said Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy. “I look around and see that we had 25 fast-break points, and 23 second-chance points, and I know we played hard. Soon, we’re going to break out of this weird shooting slump we are in, then the ball will start falling through the hoop, so I am not too worried about it.”

Van Gundy was especially proud of his team in limiting one of the NBA’s most exciting young players, Blake Griffin, to just 10 points and 12 boards, using a mixture of Earl Clark and Ryan Anderson to keep the phenom off balance.

“We kept him bottled up well most of the night,” said Van Gundy after the game. “Except for one lob (an alley-oop play in the third quarter,) we kept him off the highlight reel.”

“The shots weren’t falling, but we knew we had to keep shooting,” said Magic point guard Jameer Nelson after the win. Nelson finished with 17 points, and was 4-5 from beyond the arc. The rest of the team was just 3-16.”

The Clippers fall to 19-32 after the loss, and won’t get point guard Eric Gordon back anytime soon. After the win, the Magic pulled within a half of a game of Atlanta for second in the Southeast division, and only five games back of the division-leading Miami Heat.

This was the ninth straight win against the Clippers for the Magic, and Griffin was still able to notch out his 10th straight double-double, giving him 43 on the season. Howard earned his 40th double-double of the season, and they rank second and third this year so far, with Minnesota’s Kevin Love leading the league with 46.