Previous Post:

The Magic beat the Hornets

Published: February 9, 2010

Quite an entertaining game on Orlando tonight, as the depleted Hornets came out on fire and dropped 70 points in the first half, taking a 15-point lead into the break. They were able to weather the Magic storm in the third quarter but it was too much Vince Carter in the end that buried them. 123-117 was the final score.

Vince Carter

Carter dropped 34 points in the second half and 48 total, his biggest scoring outburst in more than 9 years (Update: Elias says he scored 51 for the Nets once, so maybe not). There wasn’t much the Hornets could have done differently against him. He had some open looks in the game, but more often than not he was taking well-contested shots. I’d go so far as to say that many of them were ill-advised. But he was hitting them, so it worked out well for the Magic.

Darren Collison

Collison played extremely well in the first half, pushing the pace when appropriate, making patient plays in the halfcourt, attacking Jameer Nelson and sticking a bunch of jumpers. He had 16 points and 8 assists heading to the break. In the second half though, he was a completely different player. He appeared much more hesitant in driving the ball and he was front-rimming his jumpers, leading me to believe that his legs were failing him out there.

Collison also had trouble keeping Nelson out of the lane, though that was mostly because of the solid high screens set by Dwight Howard and poor help defense by the Hornets bigs at the back. Nelson didn’t score much himself off those drives, but he got the majority of his 10 assists that way, usually kicking out to the left corner for an open triple.

Dwight Howard vs. the Hornets bigs

Howard gave the Hornets problems from the get-go, as the Magic fed him inside and let him draw countless fouls. Stan Van Gundy could have fouled out the entire Hornets front line if he stuck with that strategy but went away from it for some reason. Howard also let the defense off the hook a few times by settling for hooks and jumpers instead of driving the ball.

His biggest impact on the game tonight was probably on those high screen and rolls. He set some impenetrable picks up there for the likes of Nelson and Carter, and both those guys were able to take advantage.

Oh, and Emeka Okafor looked like a D-Leaguer out there against Dwight. Some people might be upset that Jeff Bower played him just 9 minutes, but Emeka barely deserved that much.

Other notes and observations

  • David West finished with 27 points on 19 shots, great numbers considering the Magic frequently doubled him and let Howard guard him for much of the fourth quarter. Just a pity about the defense and rebounding, as usual.
  • 29 points for Peja on 18 shots. It’s just incredible how he’s able to mix it up offensively to get those points. If there’s any positive from seeing the Hornets banged up, it’s that we get to see Peja more active and involved in the offense.
  • Note to Sean Marks: if you’re going to foul somebody, make sure they don’t score in the process. Three times he fouled Howard in the first quarter, and three times Howard made the basket anyway. I know Dwight’s a big dude, but come on.
  • Aaron Gray’s first minutes second appearance as a Hornet. 8 minutes, 4 points, 1 rebound, 3 fouls, a steal and the highest plus/minus of anybody in a Mardi Gras costume with +10. That’s just how the G-Man rolls.
  • As much credit as New Orleans deserves for hanging with a tough team like Orlando tonight, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the ridiculously hot shooting by the Hornets (especially in the first half), as well as the lackadaisical effort by the Magic coming off their big win in Boston yesterday. The Hornets played about as well as they could, but it still wasn’t enough to beat a Magic team playing far from their best.

Hornets back home on Wednesday to face the Celtics before the All-Star break.

UPDATE: Video highlights from…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.