In a game with little drama, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Phoenix Suns by the score of 105-89 in front of a nationally televised audience. No Steve Nash (out with an injury), no rebounding or defending capabilities, and playing on a back-to-back against the Magic, a roster that was well-rested, it’s no surprise that the game was as lopsided as it was for the Suns. Orlando was led by a balanced attack, as six players scored in double-figures including all five starters. Dwight Howard had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Jameer Nelson had 15 points and 12 assists with zero turnovers, Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis each had 13 points, and Quentin Richardson had 15 points. Perhaps the most important thing to take away from the Magic’s victory was that everyone in the starting lineup, including Lewis, played efficiently on offense. Granted, that’s not so hard to do against Phoenix’s defense but it’s still worth mentioning.
This game was over shortly after tipoff.
After Channing Frye made a three-pointer to give Phoenix a 9-8 lead with 7:47 left in the first quarter, Orlando finished the period on a 23-6 run to put things away.
For three quarters, the Magic exhibited excellent offensive execution thanks in large part to little resistance defensively from the Suns.
Nelson got his points either in 1/5 pick and rolls with Howard, or in catch-and shoot situations on the perimeter. Nelson’s signature play of the game occurred in the first quarter. As Nelson dribble penetrated into the lane, he crossed over Goran Dragic and crossed his ankles. As Dragic fell, Nelson zoomed past him and kicked the ball out to the corner and found Mickael Pietrus for a wide-open three pointer. Classic drive-and-kick basketball with a little flair.
Carter got his points either in 2/5 pick and rolls with Howard or Marcin Gortat, or he occasionally attacked the basket and drew fouls on Phoenix. Because the Suns’ interior defense doesn’t exist, for lack of a better word, Carter was able to find his way to the rim with relative ease. It would have been nice if Carter created more for others in the pick and roll, but that’s a minor quibble since he performed efficiently on offense once again.
Richardson either got threes or layups. Simple enough.
Lewis got his points in a variety of ways, but most of them were generated in post-up situations. Lewis posted up a number of times on the left block, which is one of his favorite spots on the court, and was able to make a number of fadeaway jumpers from that area. Oh, and Lewis had a few dunks for good measure.
Last but not least, Howard got his points via dunks, hook shots, and jumpers.
There was no one from Phoenix that could slow down Howard, let alone stop him, so they were forced to double-team him nearly every time he touched the ball in a 4-out/1-in offensive set. This forced Howard to be a passer and, aside from a few turnovers here and there, he was able to spur some ball movement. Perhaps the one thing to takeaway from Howard’s performance on offense was that he was able to make two jumpshots on the left elbow with the third quarter winding down.
That’s about it for noteworthy events.
Orlando took care of business, even if it was against a tired opponent missing their best player.