The Warriors start slowly but right the ship in the third quarter to beat the Orlando Magic

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Warriors played a very sloppy first half in the game against the Orlando Magic in Orlando on Sunday. The game had a start time of 12-noon, and many of the players were on 9 am west coast time. The Warriors and the Magic were tied at 50 at the end the first 24 minutes of play. During the halftime, Dub’s head coach must have used some of his “magic”(pun intended) to get the Dubs back on track for the second. Whatever it was, the men in blue and yellow dominated the third quarter, and the Warriors coasted to their 8th straight win by a score of 118-98.

The Warriors ended the first quarter with a 6 point lead 28-22. Orlando, trailing 10-6, went on a 10-0 run to grab the lead 16-10. JaVale McGee entered the game Golden State, and in just five minutes of play, McGee scored 8 points and had an assist to help the Dubs end the quarter on a 13-2 run. McGee scored on a tip-in, a spike, a   layup and on a give-and-go. He recorded an assist when he dished off to Ian Clark who nailed a 3-pointer to give the Dubs the lead 28-22.

The second quarter was a nightmare for the Warriors. They went over five minutes without scoring a point. The Magic scored the first 16 points in the period to lead 38-28. Zaza Pachulia broke the spell with a bucket. The Warriors started to play defense and cut down on turnovers as they were able to come back and take a 50-47 lead near the end of the period. The Magic came back and tied it at 50 to end the half. Steph Curry was the only Warrior in double figures as he knocked down 11. The Magic’s scoring leaders were C.J.Watson and Serge Ibaka with nine each. The Warriors committed 12 turnovers in the half and were not in sync.

Now, we come to the third quarter. The Dubs have been superb all season long in this quarter and on Sunday, they shined. They outscored the Magic 42-24 and led by 18 at the close of the third period. Steph Curry made four 3-point shots, and Klay Thompson added two of his own. With the score 55-50 in Orlando’s favor. The Warriors went on a 19-2 run to lead 69-57. The Warriors kept the pressure on and ended the quarter with an 18-point advantage 92-74

The Warriors defense did not allow the Magic back in the game. Klay Thompson had two more 3-pointers. Andre Iguodala and Patrick McCaw also made a three. Kerr inserted his bench with six minutes left, and they coasted to the win.

Game Notes and Stats- The Warriors won their 8th game in a row and now own a record of 38-6. The Magic, coached by Frank Vogel, fell to 18-28. The game was a sellout in Orlando. The Magic have not been drawing well this year. There were so many Warrior fans in attendance; the team must have felt they were at home. Shaun Livingston did not play as the Warriors gave him the day off. Damian Jones, the number one draft choice of the Dubs this year, saw about six minutes of action in the fourth quarter but did not score.

Now for the stats-Steph Curry led the team with 27 points, six assists, and four boards. Klay Thompson scored 21. Both Steph and Klay hit seven 3-p0int shots. Kevin Durant had another double-double. He pitched in with 15 points, six assists, ten rebounds, and two blocked shots. The big men, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee, scored 14 and 13 respectively. Draymond Green played his usual superb game. His line was 6 points, four assists, and ten rebounds. Patrick McCaw, coming off the bench, added 10. Ian Clark had 7, and Andre Iguodala had a nice game with 5 points, five assists, six rebounds, and one blocked shot. The Magic leading scorers were Elfrid Payton with 23, Bismarck Byombo with 12, C.J.Watson 12, Serge Ibaka 10, Jeff Green 12, and Nikola Vucevic 12.

More stats- the Warriors shot 47.2% from the floor and held the Magic to 43.8%. The Dubs were 19-for-42 from behind the arc. Steph and Klay made seven each. The Dubs outrebounded the Magic 52-41. They had 27 assists on 42 field goals. They had eight steals and four blocks. The one negative was turnovers. They made 12 in the first half but got their act together and committed just 6 in the last 24 minutes of play. They had 37 fast break points and scored 46 in the paint.

After the game, Steve Kerr talked about the team’s defense. “If we can focus on defense, we can run.” “with the firepower we have that means we can get one or more (of our big guns) going .” Kerr also remarked about the crowd cheering for Steph Curry. Kerr said ” everybody loves Steph. There are a lot of supporters on the road.”

The Warriors move on to Miami to face the Heat Monday night. Game time is at 4:30 pm. The Warriors beat the Heat 107-95 on January 10th at Oracle Arena.