Magic defeat the Heat from beyond the arc

The Orlando Magic defeated the top ranked Miami Heat on Feb. 8, by maintaining a consistent performance, balanced teamwork, and a record-setting shooting exhibition from the three-point line.

The pace of the game was set by the Magic from the beginning with three unanswered baskets, giving them a quick lead which they maintained above or near double-digits throughout.  However, the ever aggressive Heat did make a comeback, to be only trailing by only three points at the end of the first half.

“We shot 42 threes tonight and that’s a feat, even for us,” said Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy.

Defense played a strong role with the Magic pulling down 48 rebounds, led by Dwight Howard who had 24 boards. Howard scored a team high 24 points, earning his 20th double-double this season.

“We did a better job coming out in the third quarter,” said Howard. “We kept playing and we got a good win.”

Another notable performance came from Magic forward Ryan Anderson, who scored 24 points in the first half and helped establish the Magic’s early three point shooting. He also scored a double-double with 11 rebounds, second most in the game after Howard.

“If someone starts rolling all the attention is going to be on them, you just can’t let them turn it around,” said Magic foward Ryan Anderson.

The Heat kept close on the Magic’s heels by the steady scoring of all-star Dwyane Wade who lead the game with 33 points. Chris Bosh and Lebron James worked hard to come back but had trouble finding open shots and getting calls that worked to their advantage.

This untimeliness translated into the Heat looking unbalanced and out of rhythm for a majority of the game. Heat players would slow the game down and use screen moves to try for open shot and lanes to the basket. The Magic would then retaliate with a fast break, and quick maneuvers that led them to score 15 three point shots as a team.

When asked if he ever thought the Heat would take the lead from the Magic, Jameer Nelson said, “We know they’re a good team and are going to make runs, but we took that punch and delivered ours.”

Magic had a strong showing in the third quarter and continued to hold on to the lead until the end of the game, when a quick dunk by Howard brought the lead back up to 15 with only 1:53 seconds left in the game. Another score by Nelson after was wildly cheered by local fans and was the nail in the coffin for a distressed Miami Heat team.

This sold out crowd also was a large draw for some big name celebrities shown on the large screen during the game. Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Justin Bieber, Jay Z and Beyonce, and Kevin Bacon were all seen in the stands. This highly anticipated match-up seemed more like a preview for the All-Star game that will take place in Orlando in a few weeks.

The next game for the Orlando Magic will be a home game against the Atlanta Hawks this Friday.