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Miami Heat EMBARRASS the Orlando Magic as Dwight Disappears

2011 December 18
by Brian Serra

It’s been nearly 8 months since the Orlando Magic walked off the court in Atlanta with their heads down, feeling defeated. The team hit the floor for the first time tonight since that loss and it seems very little has changed.  The Magic put up a laughable effort in Miami tonight losing 118-85 to LeBron’s Heat.

Orlando was down only 7 points at the half, but apparently felt  it wasn’t really necessary to come out and perform in the second half.

Jump shots after jump shots after jump shots. The Magic sure do like jump shots. There was very little sync to the offense and even less up and down action. The Magic scored few points in the point and didn’t score a single fast break point the entire game.

The defense was just as porous. Rotations were slow, help defense was non-existent and the Magic regularly were consistently beaten down the court in transition.

A jump-shooting Orlando Magic team is not a new story. The lackluster Dwight Howard IS a new story. Dwight played 30 minutes tonight and managed only 5 points and 6 rebounds. It would be lazy to blame the poor performance on the rumor mill circus, but it was hard to watch Dwight running up and down the court tonight and truly buy in that he was 100% present.

This team made very few changes in the offseason and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Magic were blown out tonight the way that they were. They brought back a SG in Jason Richardson who can’t create his own shot and brought in Glen Davis in place of Brandon Bass. Even if that latter move is an upgrade, it certainly does little to change the look and feel of the team. What you saw tonight is a group who has the identity of a squad that got run out of the first round of the playoffs by an average team.

I don’t want to pretend that the sky is falling, because it’s only the first preseason game. But, could it be that the sky has already fallen? This could just be the aftermath…

News, notes, tidbits and more analysis from tonight’s game after the jump:

  • Stan said after practice the other day that his plan was to play his starters close to normal minutes. Obviously that plan had to change a little bit with the team blowing out, but he still stayed close to the plan. All played 28-31 minutes except for Hedo Turkoglu.
  • Turk only played 13 minutes tonight after taking a hard fall towards the end of the second quarter. His injury was described as a left hip bruise and shouldn’t cause him to miss any great amount of time.
  • The Magic were led in scoring tonight by Ryan Anderson and J.J. Redick who each had 22 points. The two reserves combined to score nearly 50% of the team’s points.
  • The balanced Heat scoring attack was led by LeBron’s 19 points. The Heat had 8 players score 8 points or more, while the Magic had just 3 guys eclipse that same mark.
  • Earl Clark was the first man off the bench at the SF position tonight. Don’t expect that to be the norm though, Stan most likely just wanted to see how he defended against LeBron James. The answer: so-so. He played him hard in the half court, but Quentin Richardson can do the same. He isn’t a threat to shoot the ball so it allows LeBron to leak off on defense and that results in James getting easy fast break points. It happened twice tonight with both plays resulting in easy Heat points.
  • Backup PG will once again be a giant issue for the Magic this season as Chris Duhon showed tonight he is just not right. He was only credited with 1 turnover, but must have had at least 3-4 more that stopped a possession or threw the offense out of sync. Duhon will never be a scorer, so to be effective he has to be able to do the little things well. Right now he is doing nothing well.
  • 11 players saw action tonight for the Magic with only Liggins, Orton, Harper, Hughes and Pruitt not seeing the court.

The Magic are back in action against the same Miami Heat team on Wednesday night at the Amway Center. It will be the second and final preseason game for both teams. You can buy tickets for as low as $23 by clicking on the TiqIQ tool on the right side of the screen.

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