If you ever wonder why so many teams in the Association would like to add Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard to their roster all you have to do is watch his performance on Wednesday night at the Amway Center as the Magic hosted the Miami Heat. Howard once again paid a visit to the most exclusive fraternity in the NBA, “CLUB 20-20” as the big man put 25 points on the scoreboard and grabbed 24 rebounds off the backboard as Orlando defeated Miami 102-89. Magic forward Ryan Anderson was a key factor in the victory as he also racked up a double-double with a team high 27 points. Dwyane Wade knocked down a game high 33 points but it would not be enough to get the win.
Anderson has been having a breakout year for the Magic; and should be given serious consideration by the coaches to make this year’s Eastern Conference All-Star squad. The forward now in his fourth season in the Association has averaged 16.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season and other than Howard has been his team’s most consistent player.
Miami’s offense was spotty during the game, rather weak in the first and third quarters yet the club shot the lights out in the second and the fourth. Orlando was able to exploit the periods when the Heat’s offense was stuck in neutral while staying just close enough in the other two quarters to get the win.
The Magic took full advantage of their opponent’s sluggish start in the first 12 minutes of action. With 39 seconds left in the period Quentin Richardson drained a 25 foot trey and Orlando would be on top 26-18 at the conclusion of the quarter. The Heat would lag behind for most of the second but would climb back into the contest in the closing minutes of the period. Wade knocked down an outside jumper 53 seconds to play the Magic’s lead was down to 53-50 as the game reached the half.
Once again the Miami offense would sputter and stall during the third and the Magic again responded by jumping ahead. As the two teams entered the fourth quarter the Heat trailed by a score of 77-61. Miami never got any closer than being down by nine points in the final period and the Magic would easily hold on for the win.
Anderson scored 27 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists while Howard knocked down 25 points, 24 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Jameer Nelson had 12 points, 3 rebounds and a steal while J.J. Redick came off the bench with 11 points, 4 assists and a rebound.
Wade had a game high 33 points, 3 blocks, 2 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal. LeBron James notched a double-double with 17 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals while Chris Bosh added 12 points, 9 rebounds, a block and a steal. Orlando improves to 16-10 and will host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday while Miami has a record of 19-7 and they travel to Washington to take on the Wizards on Friday.