Magic Sweep West Coast Road Trip After Dwight Dominates Golden State
It was a sloppy first half for Orlando on Thursday night in Oakland, but Dwight Howard wouldn’t let his team die as Orlando’s 37 point 4th quarter led them to the 117-109 road victory. Dwight Howard scored 45 points and grabbed 23 rebounds and overcame the Warrior’s Hack-a-Dwight defensive game plan after shooting an all-time NBA record 39 free throw attempts.
Back to back games on the road are never easy no matter who the opponent. A big win out west has the Magic record sitting at 8-3 and tied with Miami for the second best record in the East and only trailing the 10-2 Bulls. Reminder: only 1/6 of the season complete.
Let’s take a stroll around the internetz to see what others are saying about last night’s Magic victory…
Andrew Melnick of Howard the Dunk expounded upon Dwight’s big game:
Warriors coach Jackson went to the “Hack-A-Howard” strategy, fouling Howard throughout the game and sending him to the line a record 39 times. It seemed to be working – Howard made just nine of his first 24 attempts from the stripe. However, Howard made 12 of his last 15 attempts and helped the Magic hold off the Warriors. It wasn’t all free throws – Howard had it going offensively. His running hook was near perfect all night and he was very aggressive, attempting a season-high 21 shots (he made 12).
Howard could only get the Magic to 109-109 (or 112-109). His three points opened up an 8-0 run to close the game. And a lot of that work was done by Hedo Turkoglu, finishing the game strong for the second straight night.
Turkoglu continued the run with a riving layup as the defense focused on denying Howard the ball. He then drove on the next possession and found Von Wafer in the corner for a dagger 3-pointer. Turkoglu had a quietly strong game with 20 points and nine assists on the night.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel discussed the free throw record with Dwight after the game:
The Orlando Magic superstar watches old film of Chamberlain’s game. Howard reads books about him. Howard even has spoken with some of Wilt the Stilt’s former teammates.
On Thursday night, Howard outdid his idol by breaking a record that stood for almost half a century.
Howard shattered Chamberlain’s mark for most free throws attempted in an NBA regular-season game. Howard made 21 of his 39 attempts and carried the Magic to a 117-109 win over the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.
“I just tried to be aggressive and get to the line,” Howard said. “I didn’t care if I missed 30. I was still going to go up there and just shoot the next one with confidence.”
The previous record was set on February 22, 1962, when Chamberlain attempted 34 foul shots for the Philadelphia Warriors against the St. Louis Hawks. You remember those teams, right?
Marcus Thompson II of the Oakland Tribune has quotes from Warriors new coach Mark Jackson discussing the difficulty GS faced tonight in trying to guard Dwight:
Warriors coach Mark Jackson — without his best defensive big man in Kwame Brown, who is out with a chest muscle injury — tried to slow Howard by putting him at the free-throw line. A lot.
“We have two bodies that can defend him one-on-one and force him away from the painted area,” Jackson explained. “That’s (Andris Biedrins) and Kwame Brown. … Immediately, you have to figure out a way to stop a great player. And his weakness is foul shooting.”
Even despite the monster night from Dwight, Orlando still received strong production from other players. Hedo Turkoglu had a strong 20 point, 9 assist performance while J.J. Redick chipped in with 13 and Von Wafer put in a clutch 8 2nd-half points replacing the earlier injured Jason Richardson. J-Rich sustained a sprained knee and there is no preliminary word on how long he will be sidelined.
The team also had 27 assists on the night to only 10 turnovers. 10 of those assists came on baskets at the rim and 11 assists resulted in made 3-pointers. BALL MOVEMENT!
The Magic are off until Monday when they face the New York Knicks. That will be the first game of Orlando’s only back-to-back-to-back this season. Game time on Monday is an early 1:00pm EST for the MLK holiday.