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Dwight Punishes Raptors to Secure Orlando Victory

2012 March 5
by Brian Serra

To think these guys almost had to face AGAINST each other tonight...

Struggling to put away the game and clutching to an 87-85 point lead with less than a minute to play, J.J. Redick nailed a dagger corner three that would ultimately give the Magic the lead for good. Orlando finally sunk some late free throws to secure the 92-88 road victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Dwight Howard had a monster game for the Magic dropping in 36 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, despite going just 4-14 from the free throw line. Dwight also went 1-8 from the line in the 4th quarter

Dwight Howard after the game on his performance, “I was a little upset that I had an opportunity to close the game with some free throws, but that’s cool. We got the win.”

To be fair to Dwight, that quote comes off as smug if read with no context, but it wasn’t meant that way at all. He was genuinely being hard on himself. He wants more than anything to be a Kobe Bryant-killer at the end of the games and despite what he says publicly, he knows the free throws are holding him back.

The truth is, despite the free throw struggles, the Magic would have been blown out tonight without Dwight. It’s part of the package and one that the Magic can’t win without. Dwight was 16-20 from the field… that’s a rare feat to accomplish in itself.

The Magic led most of the game despite never leading the game by more than 8 points. It wasn’t beautiful basketball for the most part, but the team did enough to earn their 25th win.

More news, notes, tidbits and comments from tonight’s game below:

  • Ryan Anderson was the second leading scorer for the Magic dropping in 19 points and grabbing 13 rebounds despite making just 1-5 three pointers. Ryan did a good job tonight of crashing the boards, grabbing 7 offensive boards.
  • Hedo Turkoglu was scoreless for the night in 35 minutes after missing all six of his shot attempts. Normally this would be a strong chance to criticize Hedo, but he should be commended for his ability to still contribute to the game with nine assists. (I’m choosing to ignore his 2nd quarter pass to a referee.)
  • With Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson out with injuries, Aaron Gray and Ed Davis started in their places, respectively. Gray played strong offensively early, but clearly had no answer in defending Dwight.
  • J.J. Redick, who was leading the league in free throw percentage coming into the night, surprisingly and rarely missed two free throws during the game. Yes, this is noteworthy.
  • Don’t forget to check out the latest effort to keep Dwight Howard in Orlando, here.

The Magic are back in action tomorrow night in Charlotte against the mighty Bobcats at 7pm. Hopefully someone on Orlando can top Deron Williams’ 57 point scoring outburst. Otherwise, Dwight is leaving.

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