A well-balanced scoring effort and sound defense keyed the Orlando Magic to a 102-89 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night. Orlando had six players score between 11 and 17 points, led by Jason Richardson, who continued his hot shooting. J.J. Redick, Hedo Turkoglu, and Jameer Nelson scored 14 apiece, offsetting mediocre nights from usual standouts Ryan Anderson and Dwight Howard (a combined 24 points on 9-of-23 shooting).
Orlando withstood double-doubles from All-Star power forward Kevin Love (19 points and 15 boards) and center Nikola Pekovic (16 points, 13 boards) with stifling defense, and profitted greatly from the Wolves' many mistakes, converting 18 Minnesota turnovers into 17 points.
Of the 10 Timberwolves to take the floor Tuesday, Ricky Rubio was the only one to shoot better than 50 percent from the field. The rookie point guard shot 4-of-7 for 11 points, while his teammates combined to shoot 29-of-73 (39 percent)... and Rubio himself committed five turnovers.
The Magic coasted throughout, taking the lead for good just 68 seconds into the game on a Turkoglu three-pointer. They pulled away in the second with great energy as their bench badly outplayed Minnesota's. Little-used reserve forward Earl Clark scored eight points and snared three rebounds in the period, and his strong play included a putback jam over Love, the NBA's second-leading rebounder.
|Team||Pace||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
|Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;|
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.
There aren't many negatives to be found in this Magic victory. The most obvious is the continued atrocious play of backup big-man Glen Davis, who shot 1-of-10 from the floor in 23 minutes for two points. Davis' misses got so tiresome that he heard the boo-birds from the Amway Center crowd. His shot-selection, and volume, is awful and too high, respectively. Television color commentator Matt Guokas went so far as to say that Davis shouldn't even try to get open anymore, and should instead focus on setting screens.
And Howard played poorly for the second straight game. He picked up two fouls in the first period and never seemed to get into a rhythm; one can argue Pekovic outplayed him. Fortunately for Orlando, Richardson, Redick, and the rest of the Magic picked up Howard's slack. The team played with great energy and got good, in-rhythm shots because of it. And before you use the "but it's the Timberwolves!" line, consider that Minnesota ranked in the top half of the league's defenses entering Monday's game, just ahead of Orlando.