Game Notes: Wizards at Magic
Dwight dominates as the Wizards remain winless.
by Nick Wilke / @Njwilke
— Wizards forward Rashard Lewis expresses his feelings about returning to Orlando for the first time since he was traded to Washington in December 2010: “I’m excited to come back and play against the Magic—not only to play against the Magic, but play in front of the fans that I grew to love when I was here for the past three to four years. We had good times and fun times. It’s exciting to come back to this arena and play a game even though I’ll be wearing another jersey,” Lewis says.
— The Wiz Kids look fresh in the new-look road jerseys. In warm-ups they look loose and not worried about their record even though they are 0-5.
— Ronny Turiaf is inactive for the Wizards tonight with a broken left hand. No word yet on his return time.
— Washington starters: John Wall, JaVale McGee, Rashard Lewis, Nick Young and Andray Blatche.
— Orlando starters: Jameer Nelson, Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson and Jason Richardson.
— The Magic fans give Lewis a well-deserved welcome back reception when he is introduced.
— Rocking the Jordan Concord 11s, JRich gets into the lane for a easy layup and follows that with a three-pointer to give the Magic an early lead.
— The Wizards are off to a slow start, missing their first 12 shots and fall behind 9-0.
— Dwight’s first three baskets are the most wide-open dunks I’ve ever seen. He could have a field day tonight if the Magic keep feeding him. Not much defense at all from Washington early on.
— Wall is struggling to open the game. He is now 0-6 with a few missed bunnies. Wizards’ coach Flip Saunders pulls Wall out after he committed his second foul with 2:40 left in the first quarter, and replaces him with second-year guard Jordan Crawford. Nick Young, who was the team’s leading scorer from last season with 17.4 ppg, is also off to a slow start, missing his first five shots. The lack of guard play can’t be good for the Wizards if this continues.
— So far it doesn’t seem like there are any set plays for the Wizards. It’s basically clear out and go one-on-one against any defender except Dwight. Maybe the Wizards are relying too much on their youth and athleticism. It’s not working for them in this quarter; they finished the quarter shooting just 6-28.
— Magic lead 31-14 heading into the second quarter.
— JJ Redick looks fully recovered from his off-season abdominal surgery. He has been getting more minutes with the team than his previous five seasons. He caught an alley-oop from Jameer Nelson and finished with a reverse layup to put the Magic up by 19 with 8 minutes left in the half.
— The Magic continue to get open looks from the floor without any pressure defense, and are converting at a high rate, shooting 17-27 from the field midway through the second quarter.
— John Wall makes his first basket of the game with 5:45 left in the half. Wall is settling for the mid-range jumpers now after his misses in the paint earlier. That huge behemoth in the paint named Dwight has forced Wall to change his game. No doubt about it that Dwight’s block on Wall earlier has got him a little timid going into the lane.
— Dwight answers back with his fifth dunk of the game on the other end off an assist from JRich.
— With 2:16 Jameer just chucks the ball up from half court, Dwight catches it and slams it down with two hands for another easy dunk. I seriously thought he was chucking up a half-court shot. I guess you can throw the ball up anywhere near the rim if you have Superman on your team. Dwight now has 17 points and 10 rebounds. No one on the Wizards can challenge Dwight in the post. The best move is to just foul him whenever he gets the ball. He can’t be stopped by any of the young Wizards.
— Wall finishes the quarter with a soft floater from the left baseline. Magic lead 56-38 at the half.
— Ryan Anderson gets a tip-in to start the quarter for the Magic. He’s getting busy tonight on the boards. He’s got 7 at the start of the quarter, and it looks like he’s on his way to a season or career high in rebounds.
— Dwight swats McGee’s running hook shot on one end and finishes with an uncontested dunk on the other. McGee’s shot did look like it was on the way down though, and McGee is frustrated with the refs.
— Dwight is bullying McGee in the post. Wizards’ coach Flip Saunders sees this and puts in Kevin Seraphin midway through the quarter, hoping that he can at least make Dwight work for his dunks.
— The Magic get some quick fast-break buckets to push their lead past 20.
— Seraphin is playing more physical against Dwight and making him work to get open. Flip Saunders made the substation a little too late. All hope for Washington is lost at this point and it shows in their play. The Magic lead is up to 23 by the end of the quarter.
— Wizards’ guard Jordan Crawford has been quiet all game, but starts the fourth with two quick buckets.
— Dwight almost brought the basket down as he tried to dunk a put-back off a Glen Davis missed shot, but he was fouled by two Washington players. No need for Dwight now, so Stan lets him rest for the remainder of the game after his free-throw shots.
— Glen Davis continues to struggle from the floor. He’s now just 1-8 in the game so far. Most of his shots have come from mid range. On defense he is the target to go at. The “Big Baby” doesn’t look like he has found his role in the Magic offense yet. He may be a little out of shape to because he is breathing hard during the free-throws on my end of the floor.
— With Dwight out of the game for good, the Wizards are driving to the hoop, but to no avail.
— With four minutes to go in the game, Larry Hughes checks in for the Magic. This marks his third appearance this season after missing all of last season.
— At this point, it’s time to pad the stats for the Magic players and get the rookies in the game for some action. The Wizards just want to get good shots now while not turning the ball over.
— Even QRich gets a piece of the action for the Magic with a three-pointer with two minutes to go.
— Booker finishes with the highlight of the night for the Wizards on a put-back dunk.
— Magic cruise in the fourth quarter but still beat the Wizards 103-85.
— Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy acknowledged that the game plan changed once he saw how Dwight started out.
— “As the game went on, quite honestly, I just wanted to keep throwing the ball to Dwight because I thought he was just having his way down there,” said Van Gundy after the game.
— Dwight Howard is satisfied with the win, but knows that his team still has to grow together as a team.
— “Right now we’re still trying to get into a good rhythm offensively, and also some guys are still trying to get in shape so it’s two-fold. We just have to play through all situations and our chemistry has to get better on the floor because I don’t think we’ve had a really tough test yet,” Dwight said.
— Wizards’ coach Flip Saunders was impressed with the dominant play from Dwight Howard against his center JaVale McGee.
— “Dwight dominated the game. He dominated the inside and we couldn’t get a lot of buckets inside. Every shot JaVale took was a contested tough shot,” Saunders said.
— The Wizards have been starting slow in almost every game so far, and Saunders wants this to change–fast.
— “We’re gonna have to do something with our starters personnel-wise. Somehow we have to have some juice to start games,” said Saunders.