Despite a disappointing loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday, which culminated with a one-game suspension for Dwight Howard that’ll be served tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers, last week was fairly successful for the Orlando Magic. After Howard pleaded with his teammates to bring more to the table after losing to the Sacramento Kings on February 23, the Magic were able to respond with wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks and Miami Heat.
Each victory signified the latent potential Orlando has as they proceed to prepare for the 2011 NBA Playoffs. But of course, the Magic’s win against the Heat reinforced the belief that they’ll almost always go down with a fight.
Even though Orlando was trailing by as many as 24 points in the second half against Miami, they kept at it. The intensity on defense picked up, and the Magic were ruthless not only in their half-court execution on offense but in the fast break where they were able to find numerous open looks from the three-point line. It’s easy to state that the Heat eased up a bit after building a big lead, which is true. But Orlando still had to go out there and make plays.
What proceeds is a run, and comeback, for the ages.
Leading the way for the Magic was the three-headed monster of Jason Richardson, Jameer Nelson, and Gilbert Arenas.