Orlando Magic ride monster night from Dwight Howard to beat Houston Rockets
Head coach Stan Van Gundy praises Dwight Howard after his 30-point, 16-rebound performance in which he made all 11 of his shot attempts.
Coach Stan Van Gundy says Howard is playing his best basketball since Van Gundy arrived in 2007 --- and believes it will continue.
"He was incredible," Van Gundy said. "He's just patient down there (in the paint). He's changed the way he plays. He doesn't force things now. People want more and they're getting more. He's by far the biggest reason we're winning games. People are going to have to give him more credit." [...]
Howard already owns the Magic franchise record for most double-doubles in a season, posting an NBA-best 69 in 2007-08, besting Shaq's 68 set in 1992-93.
"I don't really think about it. I'm just trying to win games," Howard said. "I'm just trying to be the baddest player on the floor every night."
Magic PF Ryan Anderson has seen his playing time shrink, but at least he’s no longer playing with the New Jersey Nets, the NBA’s worst team.
Brian Schmitz writes that even though Ryan Anderson hasn't been playing much lately, he isn't complaining about the lack of playing time.
Magic PF Ryan Anderson can't complain.
His playing time has been erratic, but things could be worse.
He could be still playing in New Jersey with the Nets, stuck on the league's worst team.
"It's hard to complain. I'm on a winning team," Anderson said. "You lose all the time, it's depressing."
More after the jump.
`` He's been playing great and making his post moves inside,'' said Rashard Lewis, Howard's teammate. ``He's really been working on it and it has really been showing in the games. His offensive game has really been coming on.''
And to think how good the night would have been had it not started poorly for Howard. He made it just 22 seconds before picking up two fouls and missed the rest of the first quarter. But he was an unstoppable force the rest of the night for the Magic (39-19). Howard said him breaking the record was never in doubt even though he got in early foul trouble.
Gortat Starts, Howard Finishes in Magic Win over Rockets
Philip Rossman-Reich of Orlando Magic Daily writes that Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter have played well lately.
With the Rockets' slump worsening, Kevin Martin heard his first smattering of boos. He had missed his first seven shots. The Magic had taken their lead to as much as 27. The first hints of discontent began to slip from the Toyota Center crowd.
Then Martin hit a jumper and began getting to the paint. He began scoring. The Rockets started defending. The blowout loss that had seemed certain was replaced by a comeback and a chance. On the court, however, the Rockets did not accomplish much more than getting Orlando's attention, as the Magic took over down the stretch to send the Rockets to a fourth consecutive home loss, 110-92.
Orlando Proves Too Tough For Houston, Wins 110-92
Jason Friedman of Rockets.com says, rather eloquently, that the difference between the Magic and the Rockets isn't necessarily a disparity in talent but something else.
The Magic showed off not just their sizable talent and depth but also an identity borne of countless games, practices and repetitions. They know what they want to do on offense and it shows in the way they swing the ball, probe the defense and find the open man. Defensively, they’re just as sound, feeding off their anchor in the middle, Dwight Howard.
Sure, it helps to have all that talent. As Rockets Head Coach Rick Adelman pointed out before the game, Orlando boasts a starting lineup featuring four All-Star caliber players. That’s one heck of a luxury for Magic coach Stan Van Gundy to have at his disposal. But the lesson Houston can learn from Orlando lies not in the Magic’s embarrassment of roster riches but in their execution. They provide a snapshot of "the process" – that seemingly mystical path all players and teams must tread on their way to sports nirvana – in its final stages; when five men form a fully functioning, perfectly synchronized unit and their movements mimic the well-honed choreography of an intricate ballet.
Baseline to Baseline, your game recaps
Matt Moore of ProBasketballTalk thinks that Howard may be turning a corner.
Call me crazy, but I think Dwight Howard may be putting it together for this season. 11-11, 30 points, 16 rebounds. That's just ridiculous. Even against a light and small Rockets team, the way Howard has been dominating teams in the last two weeks is astounding. Fear Big Baby Jesus.
Magic 110, Magic 92: Season, confidence slipping away
According to head coach Rick Adelman, Houston doesn't "seem to play with the same energy and enthusiasm we had before. We have to find a way to get that back."
Behind the Box Score, where we had a busy night
UPDATE: Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie analyzes Orlando's victory.
Learning another lesson
UPDATE 2: Howard writes about what he learned from last night's game, specifically that his mindset must always be "attack, attack, attack!!!"