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Magic 111 – Suns 88: The Word Around the Web

March 14, 2011

With the big blowout win last night over the Suns, confidence is running high in the Magic locker room and the Magic were finally able to easily handle a team that they should have no problems beating.  It was also the first blowout win in the month of March.

Let’s take a look around the web and see what people are saying about the victory (AKA I had too much Sunday Funday and wasn’t able to write about the game):

Andrew Melnick of Howard the Dunk seconded my notion that it was nice to see the Magic take care of business when they should:

“The Orlando Magic did something they have really struggled do recently; beat down an inferior opponent. Recently we’ve seen the Magic struggle with the likes of Golden State and Sacramento (twice). Against the Phoenix Suns, the Magic rode a huge third quarter (they outscored Phoenix 26-13 in the third quarter) to overcome a poor defensive start and earn a 111-88 victory.”

Evan Dunlap of the Orlando Pinstriped Post praised the play of Gilbert Arenas and marked it as a very encouraging sign for the Magic. Evan has been very critical of Gil’s play so far as a member of the Magic, so if Gil is starting to turn the head of his naysayers, it’s a good sign for the Magic.

“Gilbert Arenas continues to play smart, efficient basketball. Splitting time between both guard spots–he filled in for the injured J.J. Redick at the two–Arenas poured in 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting in 27 minutes. And this wasn’t an instance of a busted watch being right twice a day, either; Arenas moved fluidly, mixed his inside game with his outside game, and generally looked healthy. It’s his third straight game, and fifth in his last seven appearances, reaching double figures.”

While I love seeing Gil play well, you won’t see me fully buying in until we see it night in and night out. Something that is much easier than done… especially with Gil’s minutes varying so much.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel got some great quotes from the Magic men about how it was facing off against their former players for the first time since the big trades:

The game had a homecoming feel to it. At one point, eight of the 10 players on the floor had played for both teams, counting ex-Sun Quentin Richardson and old Magic alumnus Grant Hill.

“It was like one big practice,” Jason Richardson said.

Bass said the game was surreal.

“It was weird,” Bass said. “Vince was at the free-throw line and I was rooting for him, like, ‘Good shot’ and I was about to go shake his hand, but it’s kind of weird.”

You certainly can’t fault the guys for that one.  It was also expected that Dwight would go hard at Marcin Gortat after he has been vocal about how he is a “grown ass man” at every opportunity.  Robbins further added,

Although he didn’t quite “limit” Howard as he said he might, Gortat made 6-of-9 shots and added four rebounds.

Howard said he was informed of Gortat’s public comments during the Magic’s morning walkthrough, and the he was “amped” for the matchup.  Howard saw a large picture of Gortat on the marquee outside the arena.

He stared down Gortat after dunking on him.

Marcin has never been shy of confidence (at least publicly), but this is probably a moment in time when he should have just stayed quiet.

Trevor Paxton of Bright Side of the Sun made limited excuses for the Suns being without two starters,

“As poorly as the Suns played tonight without Frye and Nash, the Orlando Magic definitely deserve credit for this win. Dwight Howard was amazing. Jason Richardson had no reservations throwing it down and playing a well-rounded game against his former team. Heck, even Gilbert Arenas decided he was healthy enough to put up respectable numbers. The Magic were the better team, and it showed.”

With that being said, he should feel no shame if he had made the excuses.  When a team has to rely on Vince Carter and Grant Hill to be their best go-to players, they are going to have their chances of winning severely limited.  Nash is an all-time great, still performing at a high level, and Frye gives them shooting that Hakim Warrick just can’t replace.

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic further pointed out that the Suns just flat-out can’t win without Nash,

There is no debating who had the worst of injuries Sunday, when Steve Nash and Channing Frye were out hurt and the Suns’ pride was further wounded in a 111-88 loss to Orlando at US Airways Center.

The Suns are 0-3 and 43 percent shooters this season without Nash, sidelined Sunday by pubic symphysis irritation that makes him doubtful for Monday’s game at Houston.

Jared Dudley had the most telling quote in Coro’s article regarding being without Nash and Frye:

“It’s kind of hard,” Suns forward Jared Dudley said of losing their floor-stretcher and playmaker. “You’re basically saying if you’re the Lakers, ‘Why don’t you run the triangle offense but you don’t have Kobe (Bryant), you don’t have (Pau) Gasol.’ “

Injuries aside, the Magic took care of business and dominated a team that they needed to.  They struggled defensively in the first, but came out strong in the second half and the last time I checked, there are 48 minutes in a game.  Good teams play the full 48.

Now, the Magic must show that it’s 48 minutes of hustle wasn’t a fluke when they face off against the Lakers tonight at 10:30 EST in LA.

We’ll see.

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