Frantic comeback attempt by Magic falls just short
One can point to two main things as to why the Magic lost this game: bad FT shooting (25/39), and DHoward (7 pts, 1/5 FG, 4 TOs, 5/12 FT) having probably his worst game of the year. Yao Ming (29 pts 11 rebs) could not be stopped by the Magic. McGrady (19 pts 9 rebs) also had a good game against his ex-mates. RAlston (13 pts) and JHoward (12 pts) also scored in double figures.
GHill led the Magic with 22 pts, followed by Arroyo (17 pts 5 rebs 3 assists) and Hedo, back from a sprained ankle, who scored 10 pts, all in the fouth quarter. In 17 minutes, Darko scored 6 pts and had 4 blocks. HOU, on 42% FG shooting , outscored the Magic (41.8% FG) from the field 63-59. HOU did well at the FT line, making 26/33 (78.8%), compared to the Magic's woeful 25 of 39 (64.1%). Rebounds were even at 40, and the Magic had a poor assist to turnover ratio of 14-18. The Magic's bench continues to play well, outscoring HOU's bench 37-8. At least Coach Hill is not relying on Garrity so much, as he played only 8 min (2 pts).
The Magic now go out West for 5 games. The new lineup and bench rotation needs to continue to develop chemistry, and hopefully GHill can continue to stay healthy. Arroyo is picking up where JNelson left off, playing brilliantly at the point. Darko needs to be given more minutes, and Dwight needs to work on his FT shooting. A winning road trip is possible if BHill can motivate the team properly; but the Magic can't start games as flat as they did against the Rockets.