The Magic Shock the Heat and North Carolina Lands a Monster Recruit

By: 03.04.11  •  79 Comments

24-point comebacks are awesome. 24-point comebacks are great TV. But 24-point comebacks can also be disturbing because they take everything you thought you knew and turn it upside down. It appears as if someone needs to inject LeBron James with some tiger blood … Last night in Miami, the Orlando Magic snuck in and broke up a coronation of the Heat, dropping a monstrous “don’t forget about us.” After trailing by as many as 24 points in the second half, the Magic slowly cut down the deficit through a barrage of threes (16-29 on the night) and with some great defense from Quentin Richardson slowing down LeBron. Once Orlando took the lead, they held on for the final few minutes, including a final, frantic possession that saw missed threes from Chris Bosh and James (29 points) to win by three … The game was like watching a movie, and then watching it again backwards. Dwyane Wade (28 points) and James went from electric to ordinary, Gilbert Arenas went from dead to alive and the Miami role players went from deferential to commanding, taking a number of the biggest shots in the final minutes … Can we talk about the standing ovation that greeted Mike Bibby when he checked into the game in the first half? You would have thought Dan Majerle was making a comeback. Not saying Miami fans don’t know their basketball, but it appears as if the majority of them think they’re getting 2005 Mike Bibby … In the first half, Orlando could’ve brought out the entire city of Cleveland and they wouldn’t have stopped James. Wade wasn’t too bad either. The two combined to shoot 18 for 21, made every one of their free throws and had Miami playing at a championship level. They were in bulldog mode from the opening tip, posting up and abusing Jason Richardson (24 points, six threes), J.J. Redick, Mickey Mouse and everyone else that the Magic had to throw at them. Miami was all over the place, turning in a repeat performance of the last time these teams played in South Beach (a 26-point Heat win back in October). Meanwhile, Stan Van Gundy was probably losing weight with all of the screaming and fuming he was doing. Whenever you have a shot-clock violation out of a timeout, you know you are sleep-walking. There wasn’t a soul in the world who thought they were going to come back … At what point in Quentin Richardson‘s career did his only skill set officially become “Defending Superstars?” He went from only jacking threes and playing zero D to NEVER shooting and being the guy they look to for locking down guys like Melo & LeBron … Every game that Kevin Harlan does the color for always gets boosted to epic proportions. Did you check out the Charlie Sheen soundboard? They need to make one for Harlan … If there is a record for most deflections, floor burns and loose balls in one game, the Jazz and Nuggets‘ “duel of the broken hearts” definitely set it last night. The finish in Denver’s two-point win was crazy. Without their former superstar teammates, the Jazz and Nuggets have improved their energy levels, and at times last night, we felt like we were watching a high school game. “Intense” isn’t a strong enough word to describe the game. It was a mosh pit. One team would come with a jab. Then, the other would counter with a hook. On and on it went with no one creating separation. Eventually, it came down to Arron Afflalo (19 points), who hit a wing three-pointer with 11 seconds left to put the Nuggets up five. When Raja Bell‘s trey was long on the next possession, the game should’ve been over. But Devin Harris (21 points, 9 assists) hit a long three and then Kenyon Martin nearly gave Andrei Kirilenko the ball on the out-of-bounds pass. If Kirilenko had been able to control it, he had a wide-open layup to send it to overtime, but he just couldn’t hold on. It was one of the wildest finishes you will ever see … The TNT guys talked about the lack of superstars after the game: neither one of these teams has a go-to guy, and that’s why there were so many free throws, fouls and turnovers down the stretch … Amazingly, that was also Utah’s seventh straight home loss … Tweet from Blake Griffin last night: “I used to get #tigersblood at the snow cone shack as a kid… Is that not what Charlie Sheen is talkin about?” … Wisconsin and Jordan Taylor (39 points) might’ve beaten Indiana last night by 10, but they lost out on a monster recruit, who chose North Carolina over Wisconsin and a few other schools … We’re out like 24-point leads.

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