1. The team played with an intensity that’s been missing over the last couple weeks. Said Dwight Howard after the game, via the Sentinel: “I think tonight as a team we brought a lot of energy and our effort was great from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. So, that was a great thing to see because in past games we haven't played with a lot of energy. But tonight we made a great step forward in playing with a lot of energy.” While I don’t always buy the lack of energy excuse — it’s usually more a matter of execution, but it’s easier to blame it on energy — it does seem valid here. This team was not putting enough emphasis and focus on the defensive end of the floor over the last week or two, and tonight that changed.
2. It didn’t take long for Rashard Lewis to shake off the rust. Playing both the 3 and 4, Lewis played one of his best all-around games in a Magic uniform and nearly posted his first career triple-double. Lewis registered 17 rebounds, 10 points and 9 assists — and the assists are an element to Lewis’ game that we’ll continue to see more of as he plays small forward more and more. Most of the assists were to 3s, it seemed, but it was still impressive. After the way Lewis struggled from the field on Monday night, it was great to see him play well against Oklahoma City.
3. This was practically a scheduled loss for Oklahoma City. The Magic had Tuesday off after a home game on Monday, while Oklahoma City played an away game on Tuesday night, then travelled in the middle of the night to Orlando for a game the next night. This is one of the NBA’s “scheduled losses,” where the circumstances make it incredibly difficult for one team to win over the other. Still, the Magic had to love getting revenge on the Thunder after a blowout loss last week.