Heat vs. Magic: Twitter Reaction, Grades and Analysis

March 13th, 2012 by Eric Ball Leave a reply »

In what may have been his final game in an Orlando Magic uniform, Dwight Howard put on quite the show in his team’s 104-98 win over the Miami Heat.

Howard scored four of his 24 points in OT while grabbing an absurd 26 rebounds and shooting 9-of-13 from the floor. Jameer Nelson was the high scorer on the night with 25 points, including four crucial overtime points.

While a contest between the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the Eastern Conference should be a story in itself, the game seemed secondary to all of the chatter currently going around the Magic organization.  With the report that Howard would have the power to fire both coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith if he stayed, the state of the locker room was rather fragile.

But the Magic were true professionals on this night and brushed everything aside to collect one of their biggest wins of the year.

Miami outscored the Magic, 29-15, in the second quarter and went into the half leading 56-45, as Orlando spent the entire second half clawing back from a deficit that reached up to 14 points.

In the end, they came out on top and are now only four games back of the No. 2 seed.


Twitter Reaction

Howard got off to a spectacular start on the night, and Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM figured he was trying to go out in style:

By the end of the fourth quarter, the drama was high, and Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel called it a one-on-three affair:

Robert Littal of Black Sports Online wasn’t just impressed with D-Wade’s shot to tie the game with under 40 seconds remaining, but he had high praise for his walk afterward, too:

While Wade was able to tie the game, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix believes he could have attacked the basket more aggressively in the final possession of regulation:

Rudolph saw a resilient team that doesn’t need to make any moves:

And finally, what’s a Heat game without criticism of LeBron in the most important parts of a game? ESPN’s Brian Windhorst provides us with evidence that this certainly wasn’t his night:



Chris Bosh: B

The ultra-efficient Bosh finished with 23 points on 9-of-14 from the floor while pulling in eight rebounds. He avoided Howard in the paint and was able to get multiple 20-foot jumpers to fall.

He doesn’t get an “A” because he allowed Howard to severely outmuscle him on the glass, especially on the offensive end.


Dwyane Wade: B+

Wade had a typical “Flash” type of game, scoring 28 points in addition to collecting six rebounds and five assists. Nobody is as smooth with the ball in his hands as Wade, and once again, he was the cool customer down the stretch to keep Miami afloat.

It was his three-pointer with less than a minute remaining that tied up the game, but he did rush the final attempt of regulation and didn’t provide much in overtime.

He seemed to wear down in the final minutes.


LeBron James: D

It was an off night for the clear-cut choice for MVP. LeBron may have scored 19, but he turned the ball over six times, connected on under 50 percent of his field goals (7-of-20) and hoisted brick after brick in the second half. Five points in almost 30 minutes of action down the stretch is not going to get it done.


Shane Battier: D

It wasn’t all his fault, but it was Battier who missed two consecutive shots in the final 1:25, while Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson drilled two cold-blooded jumpers to ensure OT.

It ended up being a big difference in the game.


Dwight Howard: A+

Give the man his credit; he pretends like the trade rumors swirling around his brain are nonexistent on the floor, and tonight was no different. He finished with 24 and 26 while looking like a man amongst boys against one of the top defensive teams in the league.  


J.J. Redick: B

The sharpshooter connected on 3-of-8 threes and also was a pest on the defensive front, collecting two steals. If Howard plans on sticking around, he needs a strong three-point shooter who can knock down the open looks he provides, and Redick, at least for one night, proved to be more than capable.


Jameer Nelson: A

He came up big in overtime and showed Howard what he’s going to be missing out on. It seemed as if Nelson was determined to show Howard why he shouldn’t leave, and he did a terrific job.


Final Thought

Clearly, the Magic can compete in the Eastern Conference as currently constructed, and if Howard is still on the fence about his decision, Tuesday night’s demonstration could prove to be a deciding factor.

As for the Heat, once again, they struggled in crunch time, and the blame can fairly be placed on LeBron, but don’t forget D-Wade, too.

Not their best effort tonight.


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