We see it all the time at the end of games. The coach calls timeout and draws up a play, allowing the defense to get set. Orlando, not having a lot of experience in close games this year, elected not to use that option.
After Brook Lopez gave New Jersey a one-point lead at the free throw line, Stan Van Gundy did not use his timeout and trusted in Jameer Nelson to lead his team. Nelson used a pick and roll with Dwight Howard to get into the lane and then hit a fall away jumper over Lopez to give the Magic a 91-90 win, snapping a two-game losing streak.
Balanced Scoring Wins the Day
Orlando has a ton of offensive weapons and really not one guy who will take a whole bunch of the scoring load. Dwight Howard seems to be doing a lot more offensively than he has in years past. Howard had foul trouble tonight and the Magic's offense was decent in the first half and not so decent in the second.
Still, the Magic got a win and part of that can be credited to New Jersey not knowing who was going to do the scoring. Five players scored in double digits with Howard leading the way with 16 points (on six-for-nine shooting). Foul trouble knocked him out for a lot of the game though.
Still Nelson contributed 13 points and Vince Carter did a lot of his work late in scoring 13 points (4-for-10 shooting). Brandon Bass had 14 points and Mickael Pietrus continued his hot streak with 12 points on four 3-pointers.
The balanced scoring got the job done tonight.
Jameer Nelson Coming Into His Own
A somewhat fair criticism of this roster is questions surrounding Nelson's ability to be the team's starting point guard. He is not the pass-first point guard that a lot of people are used to seeing from a point guard.
Tonight's game was hardly an exemplar of what a point guard should do. It was not Nelson's best offensive game either.
But coming off a great offensive performance against Toronto, Nelson is still the spark plug for this team. He may not be able to do it against some of the more elite point guards, but against certain teams Nelson can be the offensive initiator Orlando is starving for.
Jameer scored 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting and added a team-high four assists. He still has some issues, missing both of his free throw attempts.
You have to like the way he closed the game tonight.
Offensive Rebounding Dominance
The Magic 13 offensive rebounds in outrebounding the Nets 43-31 in this game. Howard had four offensive rebounds and Marcin Gortat had seven rebounds with five on the offensive end. That could have been the difference in this game seeing as New Jersey shot 49.3 percent in this game.
The offensive rebounding and the trips to the foul line -- the Magic were a better 19 for 26 from the "charity" stripe -- are signs the Magic spent much of the game in the paint. And that is a very good thing.
New Jersey played a very good game and did a good job keeping up with Orlando, but Orlando had what it needed to get a win in the end. A solid road victory to get some things straightened out after the last two disappointing losses.