Amway Center Grand Opening: Magic out voodoo Wizards
October 28, 2010
On the historic opening night of the angelic Amway Center, the Magic certainly did not disappoint their fans. In a game that was over from the time Gina Maria Incandela belted out the national anthem, Orlando defeated the Washington Wizards 112-83. Apparently the Wizards, without Gilbert Arenas, forgot that this was the regular season opener and John Wall decided that making shots wasn’t that important.
Despite the utter lack of competitive basketball tonight, no fan should have left the building disappointed. This night was all about the grand unveiling of the brand spankin’ new Amway Center. For many fans, this was their first visit to the new facility and the building was wall-to-wall even an hour before tip-off. After the standard political stump speeches from Rich DeVos and Buddy Dyer, David Stern took the mic only to receive a strong dose of, “BOOOOOOOOOO” from the Magic conspiracist crowd. The fans were in for the biggest treat after Stern sat down as the new, giant HD video screen displayed a breathtaking new team introduction that simply has to be seen in person to appreciate. The first point(s) scored in Amway Center history were put in by Vince Carter on an aggressive driving layup and then Vince proceeded to also pick up the first foul in Amway Center history on the next play. You win some, you lose some.
Flip Saunders said before the game that his team would have to avoid the early haymaker. They avoided it about as well as Michael Spinks avoided Mike Tyson’s fist. The entire nation was watching this game, eager to see how #1 overall pick John Wall would look against a championship contender. Well, he looked… fast. Unfortunately, you have to be able to do more than be fast to be a superstar. He shot 6-19 from the field and finished the game with 14 points and 9 assists. You can definitely see his potential and it will most likely be a neck and neck battle between Wall and Blake Griffin for Rookie of the Year.
Dwight Howard led the Magic in scoring with 23 points and chipped in 10 rebounds. He easily could have put in 30 if 10 of his free throw attempts weren’t taking paint off of the new Amway Center rims. Vince Carter carried over his strong play from the preseason finishing with 18 points in 26 minutes and most importantly, was driving the ball hard to the basket. With the Magic leading by 31 points after 3 quarters, the Orlando starters sat the entire 4th quarter. The rest of the team had balanced scoring as well and everyone that played scored except for Jason Williams. Solid opening night for the Magic tonight and luckily the starters didn’t have to play heavy, intense minutes with the Magic heading to Miami Friday night to face off against LeBron and the Heat.
- Tiger Woods made his first appearance at a Magic game tonight since everything “went down” with him. No ladies by his side though and he left at halftime.
- Brandon Bass was the first man off the bench for the Magic and it appears that he has surpassed Ryan Anderson for the backup PF position. Hard to say early in the season, but the hard work by Bass may be paying off. With that being said, in the second half, Ryan Anderson was the first sub off the bench. Both played 16 total minutes and both rebounded and hustled well. Either way, both guys have improved from last season and each can provide a unique skill set to the team.
- During the fourth quarter Stan Van Gundy seemed to just be tinkering with his lineups to see if he could come up with any more unique combos. Well, despite playing 758 different combinations during the preseason, Stan somehow came up with two more. At one point Jason Williams and Chris Duhon were in the game TOGETHER and at another point the Magic lineup consisted of Jason Williams, Pietrus, Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass and Marcin Gortat. That is one tall lineup.
- As mentioned above, the night was filled with many firsts. My two favorite first Amway Center moments were Jason Williams being the first ejection in the new building and Marcin Gortat providing the first mohawk to grace the court.
- With the Magic up 35 in the third quarter, the Orlando fans began an M-V-P chant while Dwight Howard was at the free-throw line. This was a very anti-climatic chant as Dwight proceeded to miss both free throws.
- —Obligatory 82-0 comment—
Final Takeaway: The Magic opened the new Amway Center in style and continued to dominate their recent competition. It is never bad when that happens as long as the team is competing for 48 minutes. The Magic did that tonight.
The next Magic game is tomorrow night in Miami against the Heat. Game time is at 8PM and will be televised nationally on ESPN.