Tag: orlando magic
I’m not sure if I would go so far as to say that the winning streak of the Miami Heat is just as valuable as winning a National Championship. One thing is for sure, for a team that has had to take a lot of criticism for not been aggressive enough, for not living up to their true potential (let’s not forget we are talking about the NBA defending championship) they are really proving they are for real. Let it there be no doubt, they want to keep this streak alive just as much as they want to win their second championship in a row.
These guys are determined to do whatever they need to prove they are the team to beat right now. Yes, on the one hand, we have to realize that few players have needed to prove themselves as much as the Heat biggest star, LeBron James. He’s been in the league for ten years, and despite multiple regular season MVP’s and a couple of trips into the NBA Finals, he always came up short. That was until he joined Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami to for the latest Big Three. And in a short but extremely intense lockout-season, the boys from South Beach took the National Title. Still there was huge animosity against James and the Heat, although they are now going into their third season straight playing in a full house at Miami. They might be quite unpopular everywhere else, but the South Beach fans loves this new force.
Now, facing the Orlando Magic, a team that desperately needs to pull off big wins in a season that is certainly going to end as soon as the postseason kicks off, things were looking quite difficult at one point. With the Orlando Magic’s Jameer Nelson three pointer in the 3rd quarter, the game was tied at 68 points a piece, and considering that the Heat were playing without Dwight Howard for the second game in a row, it seemed as if James was not going to be able to deliver and the streak was going to be cut short. And it was just about that next play that LeBron James got a bit mad and started playing like he was on fire. He started the turnaround with a phenomenal highlight reel worthy dunk, followed with an easy jumper over three Magic players only 30 seconds later, and guided the Heat on a dominant 4th quarter to take a 108-94 win at Orlando.
James would go on to lead the Magic for the second night in a row, scoring 24 points, 9 rebounds and 11 assists against Orland. “We are not taking this team for granted,” James said in the postgame press conference. “I continue to always say that in professional sports, wins are hard to come by and teams like this are really rare. To be part of a team like this, we do not take it for granted.” The Magic gave it all they could, but then again, it is clear that at 18 and 53 for the season, these guys are not at their finest. Jameer Nelson guided the Magic with 27 points and 12 assists while Tobias Harris had 20 points for the home team.
According to the script, the Oklahoma City Thunder should have had it easy going into a 4-game run that included team with a losing record. At least on paper, these guys were expected to dominate the few games they had and bridge the gap they held with the San Antonio Spurs for the top spot in the Western Conference. They dropped games against the Denver Nuggets at home and followed that with a overtime loss against the Memphis Grizzlies despite a 32-point effort coming from Kevin Durant.
So, when facing the Orlando Magic on the road this team really needed to get their act together and walk out of the Amway Center with a win, ending a 2-game skid. At 18-52 for the season, the Orlando Magic are certainly not experiencing their best season in the league. As a matter of fact, the numbers really dropped after their main man, Dwight Howard, was traded to the LA Lakers at the begging of the current season. In other words, this was supposed to be easy.
It wasn’t. The Oklahoma City Thunder needed to go into overdrive mode and rely heavily on the three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant, who, by the way finished the night with 25 points and 8 rebounds, to outplay the Magic and take a 97-89 win on the road. Russell Westbrook chipped in with 19 points and 9 assists as the Thunder got within two and a half points of San Antonio “We had two tough losses … I give our guys a lot of credit,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said in the post-game press conference. “They picked themselves up and came into tonight with a good mindset. We got the win and we’re moving on to the next game.”
That’s certainly a good way to look at it. After all, they had to pull this come from behind win despite terrible numbers. Consider for a moment that Oklahoma shot only 5 of 21 from the three-point line and looked a bit sloppy with the ball at times.
The Orlando Magic played a valiant game. It was t going to be easy, it was clear from the start that they would have to give it all they had to defeat the team with the second best record in the western conference. Still, Moe Harkless lead the way with a career high 25 points, while veteran Jameer Nelson added 16. The Magic needed this win, they emotionally needed this game to go their way. Orlando had loss 6 in a row, and to make things even more difficult, they lost Aaron Afflalo in the second quarter with some issues on his hamstring.
“The first half, I think I was a completely different player in the first half than in the second half,” said Harkless in the post-game press conference. He was certainly playing what could arguably be the best game of his career. “The first half I wasn’t aggressive. … When Arron went down I knew I had to step up and make plays, make things happen.”
It wasn’t easy that’s for sure. For a moment there it seemed as if once again the Miami Heat would end up losing to a team that has no chances of making it into the postseason. But at the end of the day, the Heat came back, played like the NBA defending champions they are and gave us a little glimpse of something we usually don’t see. LeBron James took the decisive game-winning shot that put the Heat over the edge against the Orlando Magic in a stunning 97-96 matchup at South Beach. LeBron James has been criticized over and over for his lack of performance in clutch situations. Sure he is among the finest players to have played the game, there really is no doubt about that. And yet, it seems as if he goes a little shy when it comes to making that decisive shot. Well, not this time.
The Orlando Magic had managed to turn a 20-point deficit and turn things around in a very dominant third quarter to take the lead on the road against the most dominant team in the Eastern Conference. That is certainly a huge feat for a team that at 17-45 is certainly not at it’s finest, but that has shown that they have the potential to play well even if their biggest star, Dwight Howard, has moved to the LA Lakers. It was a though loss for the Magic. They really fought for this game, they gave it their best. It just wasn’t enough despite a solid performance from their starters. Nik Vucevic guided Orlandos’s efforts with 25 points and 21 rebounds. Yes, that’s the second time in his career that Vucevic records 20+ rebounds: both times against the Miami Heat.
The Magic got plenty of help from their point guard Jameer Nelson who had 16 points and 14 rebounds in a good all-around performance. Tobias Harris also added 16 points for the Magic and, Arron Afflalo and Maurice Harkless had 13 and 12 points each respectively.The Orlando Magic are now 0-2 for the season against the Miami Heat. But to be fair, both games have been loss by less than three points. “This is tough,” Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said in the postgame press conference. “You’ve got guys who battled, who really wanted to win this game and deserved to win this game.”
LeBron James guided the Heat efforts with 26 points and 3 rebounds including the go-ahead layup after getting past DeQuan Jones with 3.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The fine tuned Dwayne Wade had 24 points for the night as he now records his 7th game shooting over 62%. Chris Bosh chipped in with 17 points and 10 rebounds, to round up the Miami Heat’s Big Three performances. It was a bit alarming that they let the game get out of their hands so badly in the third quarter. And it was a bit alarming how dominant under the paint Vucevic was in that period. He recorded 10 rebounds in that period alone. Compare that with three boards from the entire Miami Heat crew. Just a little something head coach Erik Spoelstra should look at before the postseason kicks in.
It’s a bit funny how some things work out at the end of the day. The Orlando Magic were playing at home against the veteran Boston Celtics. They were coming off a two game winning streak that was promising to turn their 5-8 season around. They were well aware of the fact that their turnovers were ultimately costing them wins and that it could be the reason why their season had been filled with rough patches. Even more, the Orlando Magic had been able to take advantage of the Celtics underperforming defense and had built up a 7-point lead halfway into the fourth quarter. The Boston Celtics defense for this game was so weak that it actually made an offensive minded player like Leandro Barbosa look as if he were a phenomenal defender.
At the end it really didn’t matter much. What the Celtics lacked in defensive prowess they made up with offensive experience, talent and down right clutch time brilliance. Rajon Rondo was just one rebound shy of recording yet another triple double in his career while Kevin Garnett finished off the match with 24 points and 10 rebounds while Paul Pierce Chipped in with 23 points to lead the Celtics into a 116-110 win in overtime over the Orlando Magic. For the better part of the fourth quarter it seemed as if the Orlando Magic would take this one. On the one hand, Jameer Nelson was putting on one heck of a show in the second half. Just for the sake of story let’s take into account that he had 17 points after the halftime break. Nelson scored the Magic’s final eight points of the third quarter, including a fade away jumper to end the period to give the Magic a two-point edge entering the fourth quarter.
And yet they gave the game away with their poor ball handling. As a matter of fact, Orlando had 19 turnovers that led to 23 Celtics’ points. That alone could had been enough to close on the gap. Paul Pierce had 14 points after halftime and had a chance to win the game with the last shot, a step back jumper as the fourth quarter expired but his shot barely missed the basket. Still, he made up for it in overtime. For a while there in OT it seemed as if the game would remain close till the last second. But the momentum went to the Celtics took a 113-108 lead on a 3-pointer by Pierce, and layup by Rondo with 1:37 left. Truth is, Rajon Rondo had a phenomenal game. He finished off the night with 15 points, 16 assists and 9 rebounds. On a personal note, this is the 37th consecutive game in which he has had 10+ assists, matching a record held by John Stockton.
J.J. Redick scored 21 points and had 2 assist for the Orlando Magic, but very little help came from the rest of his friends. He knew they blew that game up, and wasn’t apologetic about it. “We had our chances. We definitely had our chances in overtime,” Redick said in the postgame press conference. “We had a couple of bad possessions offensively. We’ll learn from that. … You can talk about experience or execution. They just executed better than us in the end.”