Hours after Magic owner Richard Devos addressed the team in the locker room, resoundingly stating that he did not want to trade Dwight Howard, the Magic looked for their first signature win of the season. And they got it. The Magic, behind a monster game by Howard, defeated the Miami Heat 102-89 Wednesday night.
Amid season long trade rumors, Howard had a double-double of 25 points and 24 rebounds and along with 24 first-half points from Ryan Anderson, led the Orlando Magic. In fact, the Magic never trailed in the game.
The Heat were led by a valiant effort by Dwyane Wade, who attacked the rim with a vengeance. He led all scorers with 33 points on 15 of 24 shooting. LeBron James contributed 17 points and 10 assists but never really got into the flow of the offense.
For most of the night, the Magic's three-point shots were falling with precision and consistency. When the Howard wasn't abusing Miami's lack of front-court, he would be kicking it out to open long distance shooters. The Magic finished with 17 three-point shots and out-rebounded the Heat by 10.
During a crucial 4th quarter stretch, the Heat employed their playoff lineup of Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem along with the Big 3. But this combination left a gaping whole in the middle. With Howard terrorizing Chris Bosh in the paint, the Magic pulled away for the last time.
Impressed By: Dwyane Wade. Despite Howard's presence in the middle, Dwyane attacked fearlessly; his scoring kept the score close enough for the Heat to be in the game in the 4th quarter.
Depressed By: Chris Bosh. Chris finished the night with 12 points and 9 rebounds. His shot wasn't falling, he was too tentative around the basket, he didn't contribute much defense to Ryan Anderson's scoring outburst. Whether the presence of Howard disrupted his game is undeniable, but if Bosh is going to merit a spot on the All-Star game, he's going to need to show he's worth admitting.
Next Up: The Heat next visit the Washington Wizards, on Friday, February 10th, 7:00 PM tip-off.