The Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Houston Rockets by the score of 110-95 in front of a nationally televised audience and sellout crowd at the Amway Center. The win is the Magic’s eighth-straight — a season-high. It was a balanced attack for Orlando, as six players scored in double-figures. Brandon Bass led the way for the Magic with 18 points and nine rebounds. Jason Richardson contributed with 18 points. Ryan Anderson had 16 points and seven rebounds. Dwight Howard, marred by foul trouble for most of the game, finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks. Hedo Turkoglu chipped in with 12 points and six assists, while Jameer Nelson had 10 points and eight assists. There wasn’t a lot of defense in this game, aside from the third quarter when Orlando was able to put together stops and proceed to put up 39 points in the period. When it was all said and done, that was the difference for the Magic. No third quarter collapse this time.
What happened in the period?
Aside from the Rockets offering little resistance defensively, a lot.
Both teams traded buckets in the first half and Orlando held a three-point lead heading into the third quarter. But things got out of hand in a hurry as the Magic were able to execute on offense in transition and in half-court sets and as a result, go on a 17-0 run that effectively put the game out of reach.
[9:14] Bass makes 15-foot jumpshot
[8:49] Howard dunk (Turkoglu assist)
[8:04] Richardson makes 23-foot three-point jumpshot (Nelson assist)
[7:35] Bass makes 19-foot jumpshot (Nelson assist)
[7:03] Richardson dunk (Nelson assist)
[6:33] Bass makes technical free throw
[6:33] Nelson makes free-throw 1 of 2
[6:33] Nelson makes free-throw 2 of 2
[5:33] Anderson makes 25-foot three-point jumpshot (Nelson assist)
During the scoring spree, Bass was unconscious from mid-range. Turkoglu got in on the action by making a jumper in transition, which started the run, as well as feed Howard for an alley-oop dunk. Richardson was able to make a three-pointer in the corner off an excellent in-bounds play that saw Howard set a screen, freeing him up for an open look at the shot. Not to be outdone by his exquisite shooting play, Richardson was able to slash into the lane for a dunk off a 1/5 pick and roll with Nelson and Howard. Lastly, Anderson was able to make a three-point shot off a kick-out pass from Nelson in another 1/5 pick and roll with Howard.
And that was it.
It should be noted that whenever Earl Clark was in the game, his energy and effort was something that stood out. Clark played with a pep to his step and gave head coach Stan Van Gundy great minutes off the bench when Orlando had to deal with extensive foul troubles for Howard. Normally, Van Gundy operates with a three-man rotation with his big men — Howard, Bass, and Anderson. However, with each of them carrying two fouls in the second quarter, Van Gundy had to protect one of them on the bench while Howard stayed in the game. That’s one of the reasons that Clark had an opportunity to play and credit to him, he produced.
Because the Magic were able to take care of business, for the most part, against the Rockets, no player was on the court for more than 30 minutes. Given that Orlando will be facing off against the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow on the road on a back-to-back, rest is sorely needed for the players. With Dirk Nowitzki not playing, the Magic have a good chance of extending their winning streak to nine games.