The Magic show the Timberwolves no Love, defeat Minnesota 108-99
Despite having to overcome yet another lackluster start, the Orlando Magic snapped their two game losing streak by defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday night 108-99. The Magic trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half and were down 7 at the half. The Magic outscored the Wolves in the third quarter 33-18 and would maintain control for most of the remainder of the game.
The balanced scoring for the team continued with five Magic players scoring in double figures and every player in the 8-man rotation scored at least 7 points. J.J. Redick and Jason Richardson led the Magic with 21 points each.
The slow starts continue to be a major concern for Orlando and it’s something that must be addressed and remedied. It’s one thing to come from behind against Darko Milicic (13 points and 6 fouls in 19 minutes tonight) and the Minnesota Timberwolves, it’s another to try and do it against the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics.
When asked about re-evaluating the starting five, Stan responded with a very quick and precise, “I don’t know.” Jameer has been struggling and if any changes are going to be made it seems that would be the spot to adjust. However, when the trades first happened Stan spoke strongly that Jameer would NOT be coming off the bench. Keep your eye on this as the season progresses. Either way, don’t expect a change before Monday night’s game in Boston.
- Despite scoring only a combined 16 points, Jameer Nelson and Gilbert Arenas each had 7 assists a piece. While they both need to work on being more aggressive, it’s great to see the way they have been distributing the ball.
- The same can be said for Hedo Turkoglu as well. Checking the box score, you’ll see that Hedo had only 3 assists and 9 points, but his ability to keep the offense moving was pivotal to the Magic coming from behind and getting the win. He struggled on defense several times, but that is just how Hedo rolls.
- Speaking of porous defense, Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass both struggled mightily with their defensive rotations tonight. Ryan improved as the game went on, but their early miscues led to several wide open dunks and easy layups.
- Anderson and Bass have been polar opposites over the last 3 games. Ryan has shot 50% from the field and averaged 14.7 ppg while Brandon has struggled with his shot averaging only 8 ppg on 10-32 shooting. More importantly, Ryan has been getting the nod over Brandon in minutes.
- Former Gator player, Corey Brewer led the Wolves in scoring tonight with 23 points. Michael Beasley did not play for the second straight game after spraining his left ankle.
It’s important to remember that this team is still learning each other’s preference and idiosyncrasies. They’ve had played only 15 games together and have had only a handful of formal practices. The defense is FAR from where Stan Van Gundy needs it to be, but it’s a work in progress.
The Magic are back in action on Monday night in Boston in a big game against the Boston Celtics. The Magic defeated Boston on Christmas 86-78 but the Celtics were without Rajon Rondo.