Ariza's return not enough for Magic in loss to HOU
The Magic were led by GHill with his best performance since coming back from his injury with 21 pts, 7 rebs; DHoward 18 pts, 16 rebs; TAriza off the bench, playing for the first time since JAN 10th, with 14 pts (10 of 12 FTs), 5 rebs in just 20 minutes; and JNelson 12 pts (3 of 5 3 pt FGs), 4 asts. Along with TMac's 34 pts, HOU was led by Rafer Alston with 20 pts, (5 of 9 3 pt FGs), Luther Head off the bench with 15 pts (3 of 5 3 pt FGs), and Shane Battier 14 pts.
HOU (29 of 67, 43.3%) outscored the Magic (31 of 79, 39.2%) from the field 72-66. HOU shot lights-out from 3 pt range, going 14 of 27, while the Magic were just 4 of 12. The Magic (27 of 41) held a slight edge at the FT line over HOU (25 of 34). The Magic won the rebound battle 44-38, including 18-9 on the offensive boards. The Magic took decent care of the ball with 12 TOs, compared to 18 TOs for HOU. The Magic also had the better AST/TO ratio of 15/12, compared to 17/18 for HOU. The HOU bench edged the Magic bench 27-26.
With the MIA win over CLE, the Magic now fall to the 8th spot 1 game behind MIA. If NJ beats NY later on tonight, they will be tied with the Magic for the 8th spot. In the meantime, the Magic will have to prepare for a tough game MON night in CHI.