7:00 PM ET, March 21, 2012
Amway Center, Orlando, FL
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Two nights after ambling through one of their worst offensive outputs of the season, almost anything would have been an improvement for the Orlando Magic.
That sentiment was not lost on them.
Minus a few flat moments, the Magic were swift with the ball and they kept the Suns playing catch-up most of the night.
But that fluidity was definitely tempered by their 17 turnovers, just two less than they had in a Monday night loss to Chicago in which they managed just 59 points.
"We just wanted to play our game, no matter what the situation was or what we scored," said Magic point guard Jameer Nelson. "Whoever's out there, just go out and play to our capabilities so we could be good collectively."
Orlando led by as many as 22 before the Suns surged with under 5 minutes to play. But the Magic, who were 11 for 23 from beyond the arc, were able to string together enough baskets down the stretch to hold on.
The Magic snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the sixth time in seven matchups with the Suns in Orlando.
Of Anderson's performance, Dudley said the Suns "basically let him have shooting practice" and suffered from several defensive mishaps against Howard.
"That's how they want to play and Dwight had a smile on his face the whole time," Dudley said. "Anytime he has a smile and is not getting technical you're going to be in trouble."
The Magic committed 59 turnovers in their previous three games but had just six in the first half, which made for a much more productive night in their half-court sets early on.
But with 17 for the game, their turnover woes clearly aren't yet over.
After building a double-digit halftime lead, Orlando started slowly in the second half before pushing it to 22 with less than 8 minutes to play. The Suns used a 15-4 run to cut it to 96-85 with 4:30 left before Nelson's basket and Anderson's seventh 3 helped close things out.
Anderson hit four 3-pointers and had 15 points to help the Magic dominate the first half, building as much as a 14-point advantage Howard also had his way on the inside with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Nine turnovers also contributed to what wound up being a 13-point halftime deficit for the Suns. Dudley and Steve Nash were the bright spots with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
There were few after that, though, with center Marcin Gortat managing just four points in his first visit to Orlando since being dealt in a blockbuster trade in December 2010 that also included the Magic dealing Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus for Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark.
To underscore just how odd the night was for Phoenix, Gortat's three assists were one more than Nash had.
"I probably gave him too much respect," Gortat said of Howard. "I should have played him a bit stronger in fighting for my position, but now it's over. He basically destroyed me and the whole team so that's what happened. I try to hold up to him in the first half and then in the second half I kind of fell asleep and he started scoring like crazy."
Orlando's turnover problems don't seem to have a particular theme. The Magic had five in the first quarter Wednesday, just one in the second and 11 the rest of the way.
The giveaways were also spread throughout the rotation, with four of the five starters each having at least two and reserve J.J. Redick committing four coming in his 23 minutes.
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said there were moments when he liked how his team looked -- and that is certainly a positive for a team that had been dragging for two games.
"I thought for three quarters we made a really concerted defensive effort," Van Gundy said. "Then we got a big lead and shut down and didn't do a damn thing for three quarters. But for three quarters I thought our guys really, really tried."
Howard posted his 39th double-double. ... Anderson connected on 4 of his first 5 3-point attempts, marking the first time since March 8 he had at least three in a game. ... The second-oldest player in the NBA, 39-year-old Suns F Grant Hill, was able to find some humor just a night after being involved in a violent collision with Miami's LeBron James that left James on the ground a few minutes and with a stinger in his elbow. "There was a collision and the middle-aged man got up first," Hill joked.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||38-79 (.481)||39-83 (.470)|
|3PM-3PA||4-12 (.333)||11-23 (.478)|
|FTM-FTA||13-19 (.684)||14-21 (.667)|
|Fast Break Points||12||12|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||19 (0/0)||13 (1/0)|