Second Look: Orlando Magic 104, Miami Heat 95 | Magic Basketball

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Nov 25

Second Look: Orlando Magic 104, Miami Heat 95

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Night and day. The Orlando Magic team that suffered a blowout loss to the Miami Heat on Oct. 29 wilted under pressure, played stagnantly on offense and looked just plain awful. The Magic team that defeated the Heat 104-95 on Wednesday night answered a late Miami run, played energetically and hit big shots. [...] The Magic received big performances from Jameer NelsonJ.J. RedickDwight Howard and Brandon Bass to deal the sputtering Heat their third straight loss. Nelson spent much of the night passing the ball. Until a teammate corrected him. With the Heat about to complete a fourth-quarter comeback, Bass took Nelson aside. [...] Nelson did exactly that. With the score tied at 89, Nelson hit a pull-up jumper from the foul line. On the next possession, he drove down the lane and sank a floater. On the possession after that, he logged his career-high 14th assist, driving to the foul line and kicking the ball out to Redick for a jumper.”
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “It’s hard to believe the Orlando Magic played the same team Wednesday night they played on Oct. 29 in Miami. The Magic played better in every facet of the game: they passed more, shot better, played crisper and protected the ball. Nearly a month ago, the Magic were embarrassed by the Heat. On Wednesday night, the Magic showed the world that game was an anomaly. Perhaps the adrenaline from the first game really did propel the Heat on Oct. 29. Maybe the Magic are a better team than the Heat — at least right now. Maybe Jameer Nelson is capable of carving up Miami’s defense the way Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo have.”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The first time it was Miami’s Big Three against Orlando’s Only One and it wasn’t a fair fight on Oct. 29. Wednesday night, in the rematch with the Heat, Dwight Howard received plenty of help to even the season series and continue Miami’s free-fall to 8-7. Jameer Nelson made key baskets down the stretch and set a career high with 14 assists to go with 17 points. J.J. Redick, starting for injured Vince Carter, scored 20 points and looked like a guy who starred in a shooting video. Brandon Bass scored 18 points off the bench and — get this — was even inserted late for defensive purposes. Rashard Lewis added 14 points, dodging foul trouble. And, of course, Howard was brilliant, scoring 24 points, grabbing 18 boards and keeping the Heat thinking more about outside shots. (Most amazing stat from Howard: zero fouls).”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Considering the heartbreaking fashion with which the Orlando Magic lost two days earlier maybe it was only fitting that they had to scrap and claw down the stretch on Wednesday night for their biggest victory of the season. Tied with arch-rival Miami with 4:36 to play, the Magic strung together four straight baskets by guards Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick and used a game-sealing 12-2 run to smother the Heat and win 104-95 at noisy Amway Center. The way the Magic (10-4) hung tough in a pressure situation, continued to move the ball and got key defensive stops allowed them to beat a Heat team that continues to plunge downward in a bizarre spiral. [...] The Magic’s victory was sweet revenge after they were humiliated 96-70 by the Heat in Miami on Oct. 29. The two teams play next on Feb. 3 in Orlando. They close the season series on March 3 in Miami. Both games, just like the first two meetings, will be nationally televised. But this one, clearly, meant quite a bit to the Magic.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Miami didn’t lead at all in the second or third periods, but stormed back early in the fourth period, with scores on 7 of its first 9 possessions, taking an 88-87 lead on Wade’s three-point play at the 6:48 mark. At that point, though, the Magic’s defense stiffened once more and turned the Heat into an ineffective, jump-shooting group despite the presence of James and Wade, two of the league’s most dynamic drivers. On their next nine trips, the Heat scored 1 point and took 7 jumpers; Bass fouled Bosh on a layup attempt for Miami’s only point during that span, and Bosh fumbled away a lob pass in what proved to be the Heat’s only inside shot attempt. Zydrunas Ilgauskas missed two open pick-and-pop looks, Wade and Eddie House missed three three-pointers, and Wade and James missed two long two-point tries. It’s important to note, though, that one of House’s threes came after Nelson batted away an attempted alley-oop pass, a play which doesn’t show up in the stat sheet but nonetheless affected the game in a major way. Also important: at no point in the fourth quarter did Orlando permit Miami any second looks, as it grabbed all 12 available defensive rebounds. For the entire fourth, the Heat’s offense was one-and-done, a huge coup for the Magic.”
  • Shandel Richardson of the Sun-Sentinel: “The Heat was hardly the team that defeated the Magic by 26 points at AmericanAirlines Arena less than a month ago. They looked like a group still searching for an identity, offensively and defensively. The Magic led most of the way before Wade broke free from a shooting slump. He entered having made 1 of his last 23 field goals, and hit just 5 of 18 against the Magic. But Wade scored seven of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, his 3-point play giving the Heat an 88-87 lead with 6:48 remaining. From there, the Magic (10-4) went on a 10-1 spurt behind point guard Jameer Nelson to regain control and close things out.”
  • David J. Neal of the Miami Herald: “How you view the Heat’s 104-95 loss in Orlando depends all on perspective. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade saw a great effort Wednesday night. The NBA standings will see it as a loss. James and Wade saw it as just one of those nights against a good team on the road. Fans will see it as a loss against the kind of opponent the Heat needs to start beating. [...] They didn’t get it, in the end, because Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson snatched the game. In addition to his 11 fourth-quarter points, Nelson dished off to J.J. Redick for a short jumper and drew a couple of fouls before taking his game and going home. Nelson was called for his second technical foul with 39 seconds left.”
  • Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald: “Just take a snapshot of the Heat 15 games into the season. It’s a hideous picture. Dwyane Wade hasn’t looked this out of sorts, maybe ever. You can see him second-guessing his shot as he’s releasing it. He missed a couple of layups in the first half against Orlando that he could have made in his sleep. He tried to reincorporate a midrange game that has been nonexistent this season, and it looked out of rhythm. He threw up an airball three-pointer with no one near him. He recovered for a few minutes in the final quarter, but that happened with James on the bench. When James came back in, Wade’s short-lived flame fizzled. Coincidence? Maybe. But it won’t be looked at that way. Not on this team. Not when the losses are piling up and the gettin’ is good. And James? He’s the picture of confusion at the moment. He talked about having fun playing basketball, but it seemed to ignore all the other elements required for success.”
  • Kevin Arnovitz of The Heat Index: “A few seasons ago — back when the Celtics has just assembled their big 3, the grizzled Pistons were still competent and the Cavaliers were riding LeBron James, — the Magic assumed the role as the up-and-comers in the East. Dwight Howard was still a pup on the block. Van Gundy surrounded him with shooters, and a system was born. Van Gundy might look like an unmade bed, but the schemes he has implemented in Orlando over the past few years are crisp and clean. Howard and Nelson have been the foundation of the Magic’s system. On Wednesday night, the Magic’s lethal big-small combination executed the playbook with precision as Orlando racked up 104 points in a methodical game that featured only 90 possessions — an outstanding rating of 115.6 against Miami’s fourth-ranked defense. The first principle of Orlando’s offense is to attack. That’s Nelson’s function, whether it’s a dribble-drive with a kickout to a shooter, or via a pick-and-roll. Nelson was brilliant against Miami, racking up a career-high 14 assists to go along with 17 points before his unceremonious ejection for mouthing off to Eddie House.”
  • Brian Windhorst of The Heat Index: “There were six minutes left and the Miami Heat were ahead by one point. Dwyane Wade had just scored two baskets and assisted on two others by baiting the defense and finding the open man. The Heat had eliminated the Orlando Magic’s once sizable lead. The horn sounded and LeBron James tore off his warm-up and bounced onto the floor. The crowd at Amway Center was worried, so worried it forgot to boo James as it had been doing all night. So this was it. Wade and James on the same team and ready to take control of a close road game against an elite team as they’ve done so often in their careers. When they were on that Miami stage back in July it was these moments they were dreaming of, eventually in June it was assumed. Double-barreled superstars in superstar time, right? No, it was more like Wile E. Coyote pulling the trigger only to display a little sign that read “bang.” Wade and James did nothing in those final six minutes save for a couple garbage-time baskets for James and a couple of free throws for Wade when the Heat were down nine points with 30 seconds left.”
  • Michael Wallace of The Heat Index: “If Spoelstra’s seat on the bench is growing warmer by the loss to Orlando, it very well could reach a boiling point should the Heat hit rock bottom with a defeat at home on Friday to Philadelphia. Injuries have depleted the Heat’s bench. Wade and James continue to be more oil and water right now than basketball’s version of Crockett and Tubbs. There are still some lapses in effort, energy and focus, although there were signs of improvement in those areas against the Magic. But during a stretch that has included five losses in the past eight games, the Heat have bounced between demoralizing losses and moral victories. At this stage, the only solution to Miami’s issues is accountability. The question is, who assumes that burden? “
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