ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—Stan Van Gundy could be forgiven for gloating.
He coached his 200th NBA game Saturday night and Orlando stomped his former mentor and boss Pat Riley’s team, the Miami Heat, 120-99. With the win the Magic improved to 12-3.
Instead, Van Gundy made fun of himself.
“You can see my knowledge of (Dwyane Wade’s) game— we were able to limit him to his season high points of 32,” said Van Gundy, who coached Wade his rookie year.
“We just want to keep winning,” Van Gundy said. “I’ve said all along if you start putting more importance on one game than another, then you’re going to end up in trouble, because it’s an 82-game grind and you’ve got to play every night.”
Orlando shot 56 percent from the field but 8-of-22 from the line, while Miami shot 47 percent from the field.
“He’s done a great job,” Riley said of his former protege. “I’m not surprised at him taking a look at what his personnel was and developing a system. We’re very familiar with what they do defensively. From an offensive standpoint, they’ve really benefited from what he’s brought to the table.”
Wade scored only two points in the first quarter, but led Miami on a 7-1 second-quarter run, stealing a pass from Lewis and feeding Mark Blount for a fastbreak layup, then making his own on a 3-point play that drew the Heat to 45-44.
Orlando coaxed the lead back to 59-49 at halftime, and Miami never got much closer.
“They are one of the best teams in the league when they are making shots,” Wade said. “They live and die by the outside shot. Even though they have the post presence of Dwight, they still rely on the outside shot.”
The Magic went 19 minutes without a turnover, then had four in a three-minute span of the second quarter. But the Heat made only one of five shots down the stretch, committing two turnovers.
O’Neal, who started his All-Star career in Orlando, seemed to thrive on the home crowd’s boos and his one-on-one matchup with Howard. The two dueled relentlessly in the post, O’Neal answering Howard’s left hooks with authoritative dunks.
“I’m the type that I’ve got to get it in my area to really do work,” O’Neal said. “If I don’t get it in my area it doesn’t seem like I’m doing work. But I can’t give it to myself in my area.”
Shaq outshined Howard in the boxscore, but the Magic’s young All-Star came out ahead. It’s been happening that way all year for Orlando. The Magic improved to 12-3, second best in the East behind the Celtics, while Miami dropped to 3-10.
“Whoever we play, we always have a mismatch, so we want to take advantage of that,” Turkoglu said. “Maybe tonight was different because Shaq isn’t used to running. And Dwight runs better than all of us, so we have to take advantage of his attack and just play through him.”
Wade passed up early shots, instead focusing on inside feeds to O’Neal. It worked for a while—Miami started with a 5-0 lead and Shaq scored 10 on 4-of-5 shooting, but the Heat were still down 34-28 at the end of the first quarter.
Wade took control after that, finishing his second straight 30-point game on an array of outrageous drives. He got a technical for arguing a foul on an acrobatic drive late in the third quarter—and was so emotional Riley stepped between him and an official.
“They have a team made for the style of play that they play,” Wade said, “They have like a Phoenix Suns, Eastern Conference team.”
Turkoglu shot 5-of-7 from 3-point range, including a 3 to cap an 11-0 Magic run in the third quarter. It came after Lewis missed a layup and Keith Bogans came up with a loose ball, finding Turkoglu wide open and putting Orlando ahead 76-58.
Miami G Penny Hardaway, who with O’Neal took the Magic to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 90s, played his 700th game. … Howard cracked up the crowd by performing an O’Neal impersonation on the arena TV screen during a timeout. “Hello, this is Shaquille O’Neal from the Miami Heat,” he said, lowering his voice. … Orlando has won six straight against Miami; the Heat had won 10 of the previous 11.